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Edited and translated by WALTER KAUFMANN 



Each volume in The Viking Portable library 
either presents a representative selection 
from the works of a single outstanding writer 
or offers a comprehensive anthology on a 
special subject. Averaging 700 pages in length 
and designed for compactness and readabil- 
ity, these books fill a need not met by other 
compilations. All are edited by distinguished 
authorities, who have written introductory 
essays and included much other helpful ma- 

"The Viking Portables have done more for 
good reading and good writers than anything 
that has come along since I can remember." 

—Arthur Mizener 

Some Volumes in 

Edited by Bernard DeVoto. 015.020 x 


Selected and translated by Samuel Putnam. 015.021 8 

Edited by Mark Van Doren. 015.0250 


Edited by Alfred Kazin. 015.026 9 

Edited by Carl Bode. 015.0315 


Selected and translated by Avrahm Yarmolinsky. 015.035 8 

Edited by Scott Buchanan. 015.0404 

Edited by Ben Ray Redman. 015.041 2 

Edited by Douglas Bush. 015.044 7 

Edited by Basil Davenport. 015.056 o 

Edited by Samuel Putnam. 015.057 9 


Edited by Dcro A. Saunders. 015.0609 

Edited by Crane Brinton. 015.063 3 

Edited by M. I. Finley. 015.065 x 

Edited by Gordon S. Haight. 015.069 2 


Edited by Joseph Campbell. 015.0706 

Edited by Harold Clurman. 015.071 4 

Edited by Page Stegner. 015.073 o 

Edited by Merrill D. Peterson. 015.080 3 

Edited and translated by Theodore Morrison. 
Revised edition. 015.081 1 

Edited by Stanley Weintraub. 015.090 o 

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Published by the Penguin Croup 

Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England 
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia 
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 2801 John Street, 
Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 1B4 
Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 VVairau Road, 
Auckland 10, New Zealand 

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 
Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England 

First published in the United States of America 
by The Viking Press 1954 
Paperbound edition published 1959 
Reprinted 1959 (twice), i960 (twice), 1961 ( three times ) , 
1962 (twice), 1963 (twice), 1964 (twice), 1965 (twice), 
1966 (twice), 1967 (twice), 1968 ( three times ) , 1969 (three times), 
1970 ( three times ) , 1971 (three times), 1972 (three times), 
1973. 1974 (twice), 1975. 1976 
Published in Penguin Books 1976 
Reprinted 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982 (twice), 1983, 
Copyright 1954 by The Viking Press, Inc. 
Copyright © The Viking Press, Inc., 1968 
Copyright © renewed 1982 by Viking Penguin Inc. 
All rights reserved. 


Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900. 
The portable Nietzsche. 
Reprint of the 1954 ed. published by The Viking Press, New York, 
which was issued as no. 62 of Viking portable library. 
Bibliography: p. 688. 
1. Philosophy-Collected works. I. Title. 
[B3312.ES2K3 1976] 193 76-47577 

ISBN O 14 OI5.062 5 

Printed in the United States of America by 
Kingsport Press, Inc., Kingsport, Tennessee 
Set in Linotype Caledonia 

Except in the United States of America, 
this book is sold subject to the condition 
that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, 
be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated 
without the publisher's prior consent in any form of 
binding or cover other than that in which it is 
published and without a similar condition 
including this condition being imposed 
on the subsequent purchaser 

To Edith Kaufmann 

Wenris etwas gibt, gewalt'ger ah das Schicksal, 
So ist's der Mut, der's unerschuttert tragt. 

— Geibel 


All the translations in this volume are new, except for some 
passages that have previously appeared in my Nietzsche: 
Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist. Princeton University 
Press has generously given permission for their use here. 
But even these passages have been revised, and, wherever 
feasible, I have made available other aphorisms and letters 
instead of reproducing material already available in that 

In the Introduction and editorial matter too, Princeton 
University Press has kindly permitted reliance on my 
Nietzsche. But whereas that book sought to explode the 
legends woven around Nietzsche and to analyze the break 
with Wagner, the relation to Lou Salome and to his sister, 
the final madness, and, above all, his philosophy, psychology, 
and critique of Christianity, the editorial matter in the pres- 
ent volume has been wholly subordinated to the translations. 
Nietzsche himself is to speak, and no lengthy editorial reflec- 
tions seemed worth a corresponding cut in the space allotted 
to him. 

I am greatly indebted to Princeton University for a year's 
leave of absence, which enabled me, among other things, 
to complete this volume; to Jean Yolton, for generous help 
with proofs; and to Hazel and Felix Kaufmann, my wife 
and my brother, for many helpful criticisms, particularly of 
my translation of Zarathustra. 

W. K. 


Introduction i 

Chronology 20 

Bibliography 24 

Letter to His Sister 29 

Fragment of a Critique of Schopenhauer 30 

On Ethics 30 

Note (1870-71) 32 

From Homer's Contest 32 

Notes (1873) 39 
From On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense 42 

Notes about Wagner 47 

Notes (1874) 48 

Notes (1875) 48 

From Human, All-Too-Human 51 

From Mixed Opinions and Maxims 64 

From The Wanderer and His Shadow 68 

Letter to Overbeck 73 

Notes (1880-81) 73 

From The Dawn 76 

Postcard to Overbeck 92 

From The Gay Science 93 

Draft of a Letter to Paul Rec 102 

Thus Spoke Zahathustra 

Editor's Preface 103 

Contents 112 

First Part 115 

Second Part 191 

Third Part 260 

Fourth and Last Part 343 

Note (1884) 440 




To Overbeck 


To His Sister 

44 * 

To Ovprhprk 

44 1 


44 1 

Frnm n T)rnfh fnr n T'rpfnpp 

X llflll u L/lull 1 Ui a X IClclV^C 


From Beyond Good and Evil 

"Jprnrn Trip f^nv RpiPnoft' Honk V 
x / wiii' x lie vjciy ocicii^w. uuu f\ v 


From Toward a Genealogy of Morals 

Letter to Overbeck 


Notes (1887) 


Letter to His Sister 


Notes (1888) 


noni 1 ne wagner v^ase 


Twilight of the Idols 


Editor's Preface 






Editor's Preface 


rroi/i CiCce riomo 


Nietzsche contra Wagner 



uy 1 

Letrprs /iRRq) 


To Gast 


To Jacob Burckhardt 


To Overbeck 


Editions of Nietzsche 



it '•' 
« s 

There are philosophers who can write and philosophers 
who cannot. Most of the great philosophers belong to 
the first group. There are also, much more rarely, phi- 
losophers who can write too well for their own good — 
as philosophers. Plato wrote so dramatically that we 
shall never know for sure what precisely he himself 
thought about any number of questions. And Nietzsche 
furnishes a more recent and no less striking example. 
His philosophy can be determined, but his brilliant 
epigrams and metaphors, his sparkling polemics and 
ceaseless stylistic experiments, make it rather difficult 
to do so; and to read him solely to reconstruct the 
world of his ideas would be obtuse pedantry. At least 
two things should come first: sheer enjoyment of his 
writing, and then the more harrowing experience of ex- 
posing oneself to his many passionate perspectives. We 
should not rashly take a well-phrased point for Nietz- 
sche's ultimate position, but we often stand to gain if 
we ask ourselves why it should not be ours. Add to this 
that few writers in any age were so full of ideas — fruit- 
ful, if not acceptable — and it is clear why he has 
steadily exerted a unique fascination on the most di- 
verse minds and why he is still so eminently worth 

An anthologist can easily re-create Nietzsche in his 
own image, even as writers of lives of Jesus present us, 
perhaps as often as not, with wishful self-portraits. 


Doubtless Nietzsche has attracted crackpots and vil- 
lains, but perhaps the percentage is no higher than in 
the case of Jesus. As Maritain has said: "If books were 
judged by the bad uses man can put them to, what 
book has been more misused than the Bible?" 

The present volume is not an anthology. It contains 
the complete and unabridged texts of four of Nietz- 
sche's works; and the additional selections from his 
other books, notes, and letters aim to round out the pic- 
ture of his development, his versatility, his inexhausti- 
bility. There is much here that is surely admirable: 
formulations, epigrams, insights, suggestions. And there 
is much that is shocking: bathos, sentences that invite 
quotation out of context in support of hideous causes, 
silly arguments — and many will recoil from his abun- 
dant blasphemies. For this is no "reader's digest" of 
Nietzsche, no "essential Nietzsche," no distillation and 
no whitewash, but an attempt to present as much as 
possible of him in one small volume. The book can of 
course be read like Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, but 
what one gets out of Nietzsche may be vaguely pro- 
portionate to the sustained attention one accords him. 

The arrangement is chronological, and an effort has 
been made to give some idea of the development of 
Nietzsche's thought and style, from his artless early 
notes to his occasionally brilliant aphorisms; then to the 
gross unevenness of Zarathustra; the incisive prose of 
his last works; and the alternation of diabolical polemic 
and furious rhetoric in The Antichrist. In Nietzsche 
contra Wagner, calm returns as Nietzsche takes time 
for once to edit some of his earlier prose and in places 
achieves perfection. His last letters, written right after 
his breakdown, reflect the disintegration of his mind, 
but they are still meaningful. The rest is silence. 




The new translations were made because the older 
ones are unacceptable. As a single, and admittedly ex- 
treme, example, the hitherto standard version of Zara- 
thustra is discussed briefly in the editor's preface to 
that work. Great writers are far more difficult to trans- 
pose into another language than is usually supposed, 
and Nietzsche poses many additional difficulties. While 
any detailed discussion of principles of translation 
would lead too far, a few remarks may prove helpful. 

Rather than flatten out Nietzsche's highly unusual 
German into stereotyped idioms, an effort has been 
made to preserve as much as possible of his cadences, 
even where they are awkwardly groping or over- 
strained. What is thus lost in smoothness is gained for 
the understanding of the development of his style and 

A few of his terms create special difficulties; for ex- 
ample, Geist. To be perfectly idiomatic, one would 
have to render it now as spirit, now as mind, now as 
intellect, now as wit. But generally the connotation of 
Geist is much more inclusive than that of any one of 
these words, and Nietzsche's meaning depends on this. 
If we select "spirit" in one sentence and "wit" in an- 
other, something essential is lost: we get smooth propo- 
sitions, not Nietzsche. Hence it seemed important to 
stick to one English word; and "spirit" was chosen. 
The religious overtones are entirely in order and alto- 
gether indispensable for an understanding of many 
paradoxical passages, particularly in The Antichrist; 
but it is well to keep in mind that the meaning is some- 
times closer to esprit. 


Mitleid has almost invariably been rendered by 
"pity," although "compassion" would have the advan- 
tage that it too means literally "suffering with." The 
two English terms, however, do not have entirely the 
same meaning, and it is no accident that Aristotle, 
Spinoza, and La Rochefoucauld, of whose precedent 
Nietzsche makes much, have all been translated in the 
past as criticizing "pity." And "pity" alone suggests the 
strong possibility of obtrusiveness and condescension 
apart from which Nietzsche's repugnance cannot be 
understood. Again, it would not do to alternate the 
terms: pity, as Zarathustra's "final sin," is one of the 
central themes of Part Four, in which many statements 
about pity in Part Two are quoted or alluded to; and 
such later works as Twilight of the Idols and The 
Antichrist explicate the symbolism of Zarathustra. 
Nietzsche, in short, is not only a brilliant writer but 
also a philosopher who employs certain key terms, 
which must be rendered consistently. But the problem 
is even more deeply rooted than has been suggested so 

After publication, many writers cut the umbilical 
cord and are ready for another conception. Nietzsche's 
works, however, are not independent creations. In the 
first place, Nietzsche wrote, to use his own phrase, 
with his blood: each book is part of the man, and the 
resulting existential unity makes all of them part of a 
single work. Each aphorism looks as if it could be un- 
derstood by itself — and up to a point, of course, it can 
be — but in fact not even the books can be understood 
in isolation from one another. Nietzsche himself in- 
sisted on this point and underlined it by frequent quo- 
tations from, and allusions to, his earlier works. These 
internal echoes add essential overtones and are impor- 
tant clues to Nietzsche's meaning. This is another rea- 

son for consistency in translating certain words and 

That Nietzsche did not dissociate himself from his 
published works but kept living with them is surely 
due in part to the fact that publication was in no case 
a major experience: for all the response he got, or 
rather did not get, the books might just as well never 
have been published at all. They did not become pub- 
lic property but remained his own — as children who 
fail to find a place in the world continue to be of spe- 
cial concern to their parents. The self-quotations are 
sometimes, at least in part, attempts to advertise him- 
self. But it is far more fruitful to look at them, and at 
the far more numerous allusions, as leitmotifs. 

Taking their cue from Wagner's leitmotifs, Martin 
Buber and Franz Rosenzweig have pointed out, in con- 
nection with their remarkable German translation of 
the Hebrew Scriptures, that the style of the Old Testa- 
ment often depends on Leitworte, words which are 
central and particularly emphasized in one passage 
and then picked up again elsewhere, thus establishing 
an unobtrusive cross reference — an association which, 
even if only dimly felt, adds dimension to the meaning. 
Perhaps no major writer is as biblical in this respect as 

A professor of philosophy who favored my Nietzsche 
with a most flattering review regretted one lapse "in 
linguistic usage" — "the most unkindest cut of all." 
Shakespeare, of course, is generally better known than 
this, but some apparent lapses in this volume might 
well be due to the fact that Nietzsche knew the Bible 
so much better than many people today. Certainly he 
knew it better than one of his chief translators, who 
converted publicans into "toll-gatherers," the Last Sup- 
per into "The Supper," "unknown god" into "un- 

familiar god," and so on. When Zarathustra speaks of 
trying the reins, the archaism is surely preferable to 
having him test kidneys. 

Nietzsche's style is ".ot Teutonic but European, and 
more than that: he alludes freely to the books that 
constitute our Western heritage, from Homer to Dos- 
toevski, and he sprinkles his prose with French and 
Latin phrases. There is something very modern in this: 
in his own phrase, Nietzsche was indeed a good Euro- 
pean. But he never comes as close to patchwork as 
Eliot in The Waste Land, and he holds a reasonable 
mean between the cryptograms of the later Joyce and 
the obtrusive erudition of Toynbee, who underlines 
every allusion to the Bible with a footnote. Moreover, 
Nietzsche, unlike Joyce, almost invariably supplies a 
surface meaning too, and recognition of his allusions 
reveals a multi-dimensional style of writing and think- 
ing, unlike Toynbee's. 

It is not only his attitude toward religion that ranges 
Nietzsche far closer to Joyce than to Toynbee: there 
is also his addiction to plays on words, which probably 
poses the greatest single problem for the translator, es- 
pecially in Zarathustra. But more of that in the editor's 
preface to that work. Suffice it to say here that it is im- 
possible to be faithful to the content while sacrificing 
the form: meaning and mood are inseparable. If the 
translator makes things easy for himself and omits a 
play on words, he unwittingly makes a lighthearted 
pun or rhyme look serious, if he does not reduce the 
whole passage to nonsense. And he abets the common 
misconception of the austere Nietzsche, when, in fact, 
no other philosopher knew better how to laugh at him- 

Those who browse in this volume will find a con- 
glomeration where anyone reading it straight through 

will likely find one of the most fascinating men of all 
time: a man as multi-dimensional as his style, pro- 
found and then again piteous, as tragic as he is widely 
supposed to have been, but no less comic — almost as 
different from his popular caricatures as a character in 
Shakespeare, or more likely in Dostoevski, is from the 
comic strip version of Superman. In his own formula: 
Ecce homo! 


Nietzsche was bom in 1844; lost his father, a Lu- 
theran minister, in 1849; spent his childhood sur- 
rounded by his mother, sister, grandmother, and two 
maiden aunts; was sent to a first-rate boarding school, 
Schulpforta; and proceeded to the universities of Bonn 
and Leipzig to study classical philology. Our knowl- 
edge of his youth rests largely on his sister's later hagi- 
ographies, but the twenty-four-year-old comes to life 
for us in the recommendation that earned him a pro- 
fessorship at Basel. The writer was Friedrich Ritschl, a 
generally conservative professor at Leipzig. 

"However many young talents I have seen develop 
under my eyes for thirty-nine years now, never yet 
have I known a young man, or tried to help one along 
in my field as best I could, who was so mature as early 
and as young as this Nietzsche. His Museum articles 
he wrote in the second and third year of his triennium. 
He is the first from whom I have ever accepted any 
contribution at all while he was still a student. If — 
God grant — he lives long enough, I prophesy that he 
will one day stand in the front rank of German philol- 
ogy. He is now twenty-four years old: strong, vigorous, 
healthy, courageous physically and morally, so consti- 
tuted as to impress those of a similar nature. On top 

of that, he possesses the enviable gift of presenting 
ideas, talking freely, as calmly as he speaks skillfully 
and clearly. He is the idol and, without wishing it, the 
leader of the whole younger generation of philologists 
here in Leipzig who — and they are rather numerous — 
cannot wait to hear him as a lecturer. You will say, I 
describe a phenomenon. Well, that is just what he is — 
and at the same time pleasant and modest. Also a 
gifted musician, which is irrelevant here." 

But Nietzsche had not yet fulfilled his residence 
requirement and hence had no doctorate. So Ritschl ex- 
pected the case to be hopeless, "although in the present 
instance," he wrote, "I should stake my whole philo- 
logical and academic reputation that the matter would 
work out happily." It is hardly surprising that Basel de- 
cided to ignore the "formal insufficiency." Ritschl was 
delighted: "In Germany, that sort of thing happens ab- 
solutely never." And he felt he should further describe 
his proteg6. 

"Nietzsche is not at all a specifically political nature. 
He may have in general, on the whole, some sympathy 
for the growing greatness of Germany, but, like myself, 
no special tendre for Prussianism; yet he has vivid 
feeling for free civic and spiritual development, and 
thus certainly a heart for your Swiss institutions and 
way of living. What more am I to say? His studies 
so far have been weighted toward the history of Greek 
literature (of course, including critical and exegetical- 
treatment of the authors), with special emphasis, it 
seems to me, on the history of Greek philosophy. But 
I have not the least doubt that, if confronted by a 
practical demand, with his great gifts he will work in 
other fields with the best of success. He will simply be 
able to do anything he wants to do." 

Nietzsche was quite ready to work in other fields. 

He had read Schopenhauer as well as Greek philoso- 
phy; he was deeply moved by Wagner's music, espe- 
cially the "shivery and sweet infinity" of Tristan; and 
no doctor's degree, conferred hurriedly without exam- 
ination, and no professorship could for a moment give 
him the idea that he had "arrived." He was very con- 
scientious when it came to his varied teaching duties 
and carried an exceedingly heavy load without demur, 
but his mind soared beyond the academic pale, and his 
first book was not designed to place him in the front 
rank of German philology. 

His years at Basel, where Nietzsche was the younger 
colleague of Jacob Burckhardt and of Franz Overbeck, 
who remained his lifelong friend, were soon inter- 
rupted by the Franco-Prussian War. Nietzsche, by now 
a Swiss subject, volunteered as a medical orderly and 
served briefly before returning in shattered health. 
Without waiting for complete recovery he plunged into 
an even heavier schedule than before and divided his 
remaining time between visits to Richard Wagner in 
Tribschen, near Lucerne, and his first book, published 
in 1872: The Birth of Tragedy. The topic was the sud- 
den birth and no less sudden death of tragedy among 
the Greeks. The thesis: born of music, it died of that 
rationalism which found its outstanding incarnation in 
Socrates and which is evident in the works of Euripi- 
des. The significance: an iconoclastic conception of the 
Greeks, far removed from the "noble simplicity and 
calm grandeur" of Winckelmann and Goethe, then still 
popular. The style: an essay, now brilliant, now florid 
— without any scholarly apparatus. The greatest weak- 
ness: to the fifteen sections on Greek tragedy, Nietz- 
sche added another ten on Wagner and his new music 
dramas, thus giving the whole work the appearance of 
mere special pleading for his idol. Forty vears later the 

great British classicist F. M. Comford was to hail the 
book as "a work of profound imaginative insight, which 
left the scholarship of a generation toiling in the rear." 
But most of the philologists of Nietzsche's own genera- 
tion considered "the book preposterous. What it is best 
known for today is its contrast between the Apollinian 
(the serene sense of proportion which Winckelmann 
had so admired and which found its crowning expres- 
sion in Greek sculpture) and the Dionysian (that flood 
which breaks through all restraints in the Dionysian 
festivals and which finds artistic expression in music). 
In Nietzsche's later works the Dionysian no longer 
signifies the flood of passion, but passion controlled as 
opposed to passion extirpated, the latter being asso- 
ciated with Christianity. 

In the following pages no attempt has been made to 
carve excerpts out of this essay. Instead the almost 
complete text of Homer's Contest has been offered — a 
fragment of 1872 that should be of greater help for an 
understanding both of Nietzsche's early conception of 
ancient Greece and of his subsequent intellectual de- 

His later works made not the least pretense of any 
connection however slight, with his academic field. 
While carrying on with his academic duties as before, 
he followed his first book with four Untimely Medita- 
tions. In 1873 lie vivisected David Strauss's highly suc- 
cessful The Old and the New Faith. The following 
year he published reflections On the Use and Disad- 
vantage of History for Life, as well as a meditation on 
Schopenhauer as Educator; and in 1876, shortly before 
his break with Wagner, an essay on the composer. This 
was Nietzsche's formative period, represented here by 
a few notes and another particularly striking fragment. 

All of the later books arc represented in this volume, 

each prefaced by a brief editorial note — a little longer 
in the case of works offered unabridged. 

There are, first, the aphoristic works, beginning with 
Human, AU-Too-Human and ending with The Gay Sci- 
ence. The two great events in this period of Nietzsche's 
life were his break with Wagner and his departure 
from the university. When the composer, no longer 
the lonely genius of Tribschen, became the center of 
a cult at Bayreuth, and his influence was widely felt 
not only in musicis, Nietzsche left him. The jingoism 
and anti-Semitism, which had seemed relatively unim- 
portant personal idiosyncrasies, now called for a clear 
stand. Moreover Wagner, fond of Nietzsche as a bril- 
liant and likable professorial ally, had no interest in him 
as a writer and thinker in his own right and stood in the 
way of Nietzsche's development. These factors, rather 
than Nietzsche's growing reservations about Wagner's 
music, precipitated the breach. Parsifal merely sealed it 
— and not because it was Christian but because Nietz- 
sche considered it an essentially insincere obeisance. 
Wagner, the disciple of Feuerbach and Schopenhauer, 
the two great atheists, used medieval Christianity for 
theatrical effect; the self-styled modern Aeschylus glori- 
fied the antithesis of all Greek ideals, the "pure fool"; a 
composer whose personal worldly ambition knew no 
bounds wrote Parsifal. If the friendship had given 
Nietzsche some of the happiest days of his life, the 
break was one of his most painful experiences; and if 
the personal contact had done its share to raise his hori- 
zon beyond philology and classical antiquity, the breach 
spurred his ambition to rival and excel the composer 
and dramatist as a writer and philosopher. 

When Nietzsche resigned from the university in 1879 
he claimed ill health, which was true enough, and he 
obtained a pension. Clearly, however, he also felt that 


his further development called for a break with his 

academic career as a professor of philology. 

Instead of returning to Germany, he spent most of 
the rest of his active life in Switzerland and Italy — 
lonely, pain-racked writing. In 1882 he thought for 
a short while that he had perhaps found a companion 
and intellectual heir — a Plato who might fashion his 
many stimulating suggestions into a great philosophy: 
a young woman, born in St. Petersburg in 1861, un- 
questionably of extraordinary intellectual and artistic 
endowment. But Lou Salom6, who was later to become 
Rilke's beloved, and still later a close friend of Freud, 
was then, at twenty-one, much more interested in 
another young philosopher, Paul Ree. Her walks and 
talks with Nietzsche meant less to her; but he never 
found another human being to whom he could ex- 
pound his inmost ideas as in those few weeks. 

After Lou left he made his first attempt to put down 
his philosophy — not merely sundry observations — in 
one major work: Zaratlwstra. He still did not proceed 
systematically, and though the style reveals a decided 
change from the essays of his first period and the 
aphorisms of the second, it is less philosophic than 
ever. Rhapsody, satire, and epigram predominate; but 
Nietzsche's mature thought is clouded and shrouded 
by an excess of adolescent emotion. Nevertheless, de- 
spite the all-too-human self-pity and occasional bathos, 
the book is full of fascinating ideas; and probably it 
owes its unique success with the broad mass of readers 
not least to its worst qualities. 

The book consists of four parts, originally published 
separately, and more were planned. Hut Nietzsche 
came to realize that this style was not adequate for his 
.purposes, and he returned to his earlier aphoristic style, 

though with a difference. Beyond Good and Evil, his 
next book, is much more continuous than appears at first 
glance; and the Genealogy of Morals is composed of 
three inquiries which might well be called essays. 

All the while, Nietzsche assembled notes for a more 
comprehensive work which he thought of calling The 
Will to Power. But he never got beyond those notes; 
and the work later published by his sister under that 
title is nothing but an utterly uncritical collection of 
some of Nietzsche's notes, including many he had 
already used, often with significant changes, in his 
later works. This fabrication, though it certainly con- 
tains some highly interesting material, must by no means 
be considered his last or his main work. 

In 1888 Nietzsche dashed off a brilliantly sarcastic 
polemic, The Wagner Case, which was followed by a 
hundred-page epitome of his thought, Twilight of the 
Idols. Then he gave up his intention of writing The 
Will to Power, decided to write a much shorter chef- 
d'oeuvre instead, under the title Revaluation of AH 
Values, and completed the first of four projected parts: 
The Antichrist. No sooner was this finished on a high 
pitch of rhetoric than he turned around and, on the 
same day, wrote the relatively calm preface for Twi- 
light of the Idols; and, still in the same year, one of 
the world's strangest autobiographical works, Ecce 
Homo. On Christmas Day, 1888, he completed Nietz- 
sche contra Wagner — and less than two weeks later he 
broke down, insane. 

His madness was in all probability an atypical gen- 
eral paresis. If so, he must have had syphilis; and since 
he is known to have lived a highly ascetic life, it is 
supposed that, as a student, he had visited a brothel 
once or twice. This has never been substantiated, and 


any detailed accounts of such experiences are either 
poetry or pornography — not biography. Nor has the 
suggestion ever been disproved that he may have been 
infected while nursing wounded soldiers in 1870. 


It was only after his active life was over that Nietz- 
sche's real career began. When he died in 1900 he was 
world-famous and the center of a growing literature, 
of controversies in periodicals and newspapers — an 
"influence." He has been discussed and written, about 
ever since, in connection with Darwin, Schopenhauer, 
psychoanalysis, modern German poetry, World War I, 
Spengler, Christianity, Tolstoi, the Nazis, World War II, 
existentialism — and whatever else was needed to fill 
hundreds upon hundreds of volumes about him. 

Nietzsche's impact is as manifold as his prose, and 
most interpreters select a single strain or style, whether 
for praise or blame, quite unaware that there are more. 
It might be best not even to think in terms of "influ- 
ence" — a word that simplifies the multifarious com- 
plexities of history after the manner of Procrustes. In 
any case, no other German writer of equal stature has 
been so thoroughly opposed to all proto-nazism — which 
Nietzsche encountered in Wagner's ideological tracts, 
in his sister's husband, Bernhard Forster, and in various 
publications of his time. If some Nazi writers cited him 
nevertheless, it was at the price of incredible mis- 
quotation and exegetical acrobatics, which defy com- 
parison with all the similar devices that Nietzsche 
himself castigated in the name of the philological con- 
science. His works were rejected as a series of poses; 
parenthetical statements were quoted as meaning the 

opposite of what they plainly mean in context; and 
views he explicitly rejected were brazenly attributed to 

This process was greatly aided by Nietzsche's sister 
(of my Nietzsche) — but also by his love of language. 
He could not resist a bon mot or a striking coinage, 
and he took delight in inventing better slogans and 
epigrams for hostile positions than his opponents could 
devise — and in breathing a new and unexpectedly dif- 
ferent spirit into such phrases. Witness "the will to 
power," "the overman," "beyond good and evil," and 
dozens more. 

Or consider a bon mot: when Nietzsche said, "Man 
does not strive for pleasure; only the Englishman 
does," he was of course thinking of the ethics of Hume, 
Bentham, and Mill, not of English cooking, coal fires, 
or Cromwell. Yet the remark may conceivably have 
contributed, however indirectly, to Hitler's happy mis- 
conception of the English as essentially effete and 
hedonistic, which so fortunately aided his defeat. Speak- 
ing of influence here is sheer naivete. 

Nietzsche's orientation, as he himself insisted once 
more in Ecce Homo, was fundamentally anti-political. 
His concern was primarily with the individual who is 
not satisfied with accepted formulas — ranging all the 
way from patriotism to Protestantism, and including 
everything that is in any sense, to use his own phrase, 
"parry." Any attempt to pigeonhole him is purblind. 
He celebrated reason, like some of the thinkers of th's 
Enlightenment, and passion, like some of the Romantics; 
he is in many ways close to modem positivism, but the 
Existentialists recognize their own pathos in him; athe- 
ists claim him, and many Christians feel they under- 
stand him best. 




The following reflections, far from classifying him, 
may help to define his unique achievement. He tried 
to strengthen the heritage of the Enlightenment with 
a more profound understanding of the irrational — 
something Hegel had attempted three-quarters of a 
century earlier, but metaphysically and rather eso- 
terically. Nietzsche was determined to be empirical, 
and he approached his subject — as it surely should be 
— with psychology. Of this Hegel had not yet had 
more than an inkling, and the lack of any sustained 
psychological observation is one of the major short- 
comings of his magnificently conceived Phenomenology 
of the Spirit. But Hegel's contemporaries had done little 
better: as psychologists, Bentham, Comte, and Mill 
were naive too. One could almost ask with Nietzsche 
himself (in Ecce Homo, in the chapter "Why I Am a 
Destiny"): "Who among philosophers before me has 
been a psychologist at all?" 

If Nietzsche tried to deepen the Enlightenment with 
a psychology, he also attempted to harness romanti- 
cism: by substituting an understanding of the passions 
for a blind cult and by extolling the individual whose 
reason is a match for his passions. He ridiculed license 
as much — though not as often — as "castratism," and he 
upheld sublimation and creativity against both. All his 
heroes were men of superior reason: passionate men 
who were the masters of their passion. The legend that 
Cesare Borgia was his idol is easily refuted by an 
examination of the few references to him in Nietzsche's 
works. Nietzsche preferred the Borgia (or, as he said, 
even Cesare Borgia) to Parsifal, which is scarcely high 
praise from Nietzsche. Nor is his declaration in The 

Antichrist that he wished Cesare had become pope. 
After all, the context leaves no doubt that this would 
have delighted the author only because it might have 
meant the end of the papacyl 

This takes us to the third point: Nietzsche's un- 
compromising attitude toward religion. If one considers 
the history of modem philosophy from Descartes, it is 
surely, for good or ill, the story of an emancipation from 
religion. Or conversely: each philosopher goes just so 
far, and then bows to Christianity and accepts what 
becomes unacceptable to his successors. Descartes 
resolves to doubt everything, but soon offers proofs 
of God's existence that have long been shown to be 
fallacious. A similar pattern recurs in Hobbes and Spi- 
noza, though they stray much farther from all orthodox- 
ies, and, a little later, in Berkeley and Leibniz. Locke is 
an "empiricist" who cites Scripture to his purpose; Vol- 
taire, an anti-Christian who accepts the teleological 
argument for God's existence. Kant sets out to smash 
not only the proofs of God but the very foundations 
of Christian metaphysics, then turns around and "pos- 
tulates" God and the immortality of the soul, preparing 
the way for Fichte and idealism. Schopenhauer, finally, 
breaks with Christianity but accepts the metaphysics 
of the Upanishads from Hinduism. Nietzsche is one 
of the first thinkers with a comprehensive philosophy 
to complete the break with religion. Other equally 
secular philosophers of the nineteenth century who 
preceded him do not match the range of his interests 
and the scope of his vision. Before his time there were 
really but two modem philosophers who were equally, 
or almost equally, unchristian: Bacon (whose aphoristic 
experimentalism Nietzsche admired; but for all his pro- 
grammatic pathos, Bacon had no comparable philos- 
ophy) and Hume (whose skepticism is an exercise in 

lack of pathos and intensity). Though Hume and 
Nietzsche are antipodes in temperament, they are in 
many ways close to each other in their thinking — and 
this leads us to the final point. 

Nietzsche is close not only to the man who was the 
grandfather of so much in modern English and Ameri- 
can philosophy, David Hume, but also to this modem 
philosophy itself. Occasionally he anticipated it by sev- 
eral decades, and it might still profit from his stimu- 
lation. Above all, however, Nietzsche is the last best 
bridge between positivism and existentialism, if we 
take both labels in the widest possible sense. Today 
German and Romance philosophy and Anglo-American 
"analysis" are completely out of touch with each other. 
Thus Nietzsche, once stupidly denounced as the mind 
that caused the First World War, might well become a 
major aid to international understanding: reminding 
Continental European and South American thinkers of 
the benefits of rigorous analysis, while at the same time 
summoning English-speaking philosophers to consider 
the "existential" implications of their thinking. In his 
irreverent exposes of metaphysical foibles and fables 
he yields to none. But he is inspired not by Hume's 
comfortable smugness, nor by Comte's conceit that he 
might revolutionize society, nor by the cliquish delight 
in sheer proficiency and skill that occasionally besets 
contemporary efforts. Instead he is motivated by an 
intense concern with the meaning of his thought for 
the individual. And thus he not only anticipates both 
modern "analysis" and existentialism, but he has much 
to offer each: above all, an approach to the other major 
strain of modern secular philosophy. 

In sum: Nietzsche's challenge is twofold. He might 
conceivably come into his own by re-establishing some 
bond between what are now two completely divergent 

branches of modem thought, thus benefiting both. 
Meanwhile it is the individual reader whom he ad- 
dresses. And he does not want to be read as an arsenal 
of arguments for or against something, nor even for 
a point of view. He challenges the reader not so much 
to agree or disagree as to grow. 


Strobl, Austria 
February 1953 


This includes the original titles and dates of publication 
of all of Nietzsche's books. The discrepancies between the 
figures here given and those found in most reference works 
are due to the fact that it has become customary to copy at 
least some of the dates from the bindings of various Ger- 
man collected editions. The dates on the bindings, however, 
refer to the approximate periods of composition. Most of 
Nietzsche's books were written during the year preceding 
publication; the outstanding exceptions to this rule are noted. 

1844 Nietzsche is bom in Rocken, Germany, on Octo- 
ber 15. 

1849 Death of his father, a Lutheran pastor, on July 30. 

1850 The family moves to Naumburg. 

1858-64 Nietzsche attends the boarding school Schul- 

1864 Studies classical philology at Bonn University. 

1865 Continues his studies at Leipzig and accidentally 
discovers Schopenhauer's main work in a second- 
hand bookstore. 

1868 First meeting with Richard Wagner. 

1869 Professor extraordinarius of classical philology at 
the University of Basel, Switzerland. 

1870 Promoted to full professor. A Swiss subject now, he 
volunteers as a medical orderly in the Franco- 
Prussian war and serves briefly with the Prussian 
forces. Returns to Basel in October, his health 

1872 Publication of Die Geburt der Tragodie aus dem 
Geiste der Musik (The Birth of Tragedy out of 
the Spirit of Music), his first book. 

1873 Publication of the first two Unzeitgemasse Be- 
trachtungen ( Untimely Meditations ) : J David 
Strauss, der Bekenner und Schriftsteller (David 
Strauss, the Confessor and Writer), and Vom 
Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie fur das Leben 
(On the Use and Disadvantage of History for 

1874 Schopenhauer ah Erzieher (Schopenhauer as 
Educator) is published as the third Untimely 

1876 After many delays, Nietzsche completes and pub- 
lishes Richard Wagner in Bayreuth as the last of 
the Untimely Meditations, although more had 
been planned originally. Poor health. Leave from 
the university. Sorrento. 

1878 Menschliches, Allzumenschliches (Human, All- 
Too-Human) appears. For the next ten years a 
new book is printed every year. 

1879 Resignation from the university with pension. 
Vermischte Meinungen und Spriiche (Mixed 
Opinions and Maxims) published as Anhang 
(appendix) of Human, All-Too-Human. Summer 
in St. Moritz in the Engadin. 

1880 Der Wanderer und sein Schatten (The Wanderer 
and His Shadow) appears as Zweiter und letzter 
Nachtrag (second and final sequel) of Human, 

1881 Publication of Die Morgenrote (The Dawn). 
Winter and spring in Genoa, summer in Sils Maria 
(Engadin), fall in Genoa. 

1882 Publication of Die Frohliche Wissenschaft (The 
Gay Science). Winter in Genoa, spring in Messina, 
summer in Tautenburg with Lou Salome and his 
sister Elisabeth, fall in Leipzig. Goes to Rapallo in 

1883 Writes the First Part of Also Sprach Zarathustra 
in Rapallo during the winter; spends March and 
April in Genoa, May in Rome, and the summer in 
Sils Maria, where he completes Part Two. Both 
parts are published separately in 1883. From now 
until 1888, Nietzsche spends every summer in Sils 
Maria, every winter in Nizza. 

1884 Writes the Third Part in Nizza in January. It is 
published later the same year, 

1885 The Fourth and Last Part of Zarathustra is written 
during the winter in Nizza and Mentone. Forty 


copies are printed privately, but only seven dis- 
tributed among friends. 

1886 Publication of Jenseits von Gut vnd Bose (Be- 
yond Good and Evil). A new preface is added to 
the remaining copies of both previous editions of 
The Birth of Tragedy (1872 and 1878, textually 
different); the last part of the title is now omitted 
in favor of a new subtitle: Griechentum und 
Pessimismus (The Greek Spirit and Pessimism). 
Second edition of Human, All-Too-Human with a 
new preface and with the two sequels printed as 
volume two. 

1887 Publication of Zur Genealogie der Moral ( Toward 
a Genealogy of Morals). Second edition of The 
Dawn, with a new preface, and of The Gay Sci- 
ence, with a newly added fifth book (aphorisms 
343-383) and an appendix of poems. 

1888 Winter in Nizza, spring in Turin, summer in Sils 
Maria, fall in Turin. Publication of Der Fall 
Wagner (The Wagner Case). The beginning of 
fame: Georg Brandcs lectures on Nietzsche at the 
University of Copenhagen. 

1889 Nietzsche becomes insane early in January in 
Turin. Overbeck, a friend and former colleague, 
brings him back to Basel. He is committed to the 
asylum in Jena, but soon released in care of his 
mother, who takes him to Naumburg. Die Gdtzen- 
Dammerung (Twilight of the Idols), written in 
1888, appears in January. 

1891 The first public edition of the Fourth Part of 
Zarathustra is held up at the last minute lest it 
be confiscated. It is published in 1892. 

1895 Der Antichrist and Nietzsche contra Wagner, both 
written in 1888, are finally published in volume 
eight of Nietzsche's collected works — the former, 
mistakenly, as Book One of Der Wille zur Macht 
(The Will to Power). 

1897 Nietzsche's mother dies. His sister moves him to 


1900 Nietzsche dies in Weimar on August 25. 

1901 His sister publishes some 400 of his notes, many 
already fully utilized by him, in Volume XV of 
the collected works under the title Der Wille zut 

1904 His sister integrates 200 pages of further material 
"from The Will to Power" in the last volume of 
her biography, Dai Leben Friedrich Nietzsches. 
A completely remodeled version of The Will to 
Power, consisting of 1067 notes, appears in a 
subsequent edition of the works in Volumes XV 
(1910) and XVI (1911). 

1908 First edition of Ecce Homo, written in 1888. 


Some studies of Nietzsche are listed here; editions of 
Nietzsche's writings, both in the original and in English, we 
listed at the end of this volume, beginning on page 688. 

The comprehensive but incomplete International Nietz- 
sche Bibliography, ed. Herbert W. Reichert and Karl 
Schlechta (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 
1960 ) lists close to 4000 items in 27 languages. The bibliog- 
raphy in the 3rd rev. ed. (1968) of Kaufmann's Nietzsche 
(see below) includes well over a hundred studies, as well as a 
detailed account of the various collected editions of his works. 

Binion, Rudolph. Fran Lou. Princeton: Princeton University 
Press, 1968. Supersedes all previous studies of Lou 
Andreas-Salomd and of her relationship to Nietzsche. 

Brandos, Georg. Friedrich Nietzsche. Tr. from the Danish by 
A. G. Cliatcr. London: Heinemann, 1914. Four essays by 
the critic who "discovered" Nietzsche, dated 1889, 1899, 
1900, and 1909. 

Brinton, Crane. Nietzsche. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Uni- 
versity Press, 1941; New York: Hu r P er & Row, Torchbook 
ed. with new preface, epilogue, and bibliography, 1965. 
In the new edition, the numerous errors of the original 
edition remain uncorrected, but in a short preface Brinton 
disowns the chapter "Nietzsche in Western Thought." The 
rev. bibliography adds serious new errors. 

Camus, Albert. "Nietzsche et le nihilisme" in L'homme 
revolte. Paris: Callimard, 1951, pp. 88-105. "Nietzsche 
and Nihilism" in The Rebel, Engl. tr. by Anthony Bower. 
New York, Vintage Books, 1956, pp. 65-80. This essay 
throws more light on Camus than on Nietzsche. 

Danto, Arthur C. Nietzsche as Philosopher. New York: Mac- 
millan, 1965. A hasty study, full of old misconceptions, 
new mistranslations, and unacknowledged omissions in 
quotations. The context of the snippets cited is systemat- 
ically ignored, and no effort is made to consider even 
most of what Nietzsche wrote on any given subject. 

Drimmer, Melvin. Nietzsche in American Thought: 1895- 
1925. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Rochester (N.Y. ), 
1965. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms, Inc., 727 
pp., includes Bibliography, 634-727 




Heidegger, Martin. "Nietzsches Wort 'Gott ist tot'" in 
Holzwege. Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1950. 

. "Wer ist Nietzsches Zarathustra?" in Vortrdge und 

Aufsdtze. Pfullingen: Neske, 1954. English translation by 
Bemd Magnus in Lectures and Addresses. New York: 
Harper & Row, 1967. 

. Nietzsche. 2 vols. Pfullingen: Neske, 1961. One of 

the major efforts — certainly the Dulkiest one — of the later 
Heidegger: important for those who would understand him. 

Hollingdale, R. J. Nietzsche: The Man and His Philosophy. 
Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1965. 
Sympathetic, informed, and well written; the best biog- 
raphy in English, but the account of Nietzsche's relation- 
ships to Salomd and R6e is dated by Binion's book. Nietz- 
sche's philosophy is discussed in the context of his life. 

Jaspers, Karl. Nietzsche: Einfiihrung in das Verstdndnis 
seines Philosophierens. Berlin and Leipzig: De Gruyter, 
1936 (2nd ed., 1947, "unchanged," but with a new 
preface). Engl. tr. by Charles F. Wallraff and Frederick 
J. Schmitz, Nietzsche: An Introduction to the Understand- 
ing of His Philosophical Activity. Tucson: University of 
Arizona Press, 1965. 

. Nietzsche tmd das Christentum. Hameln: Verlag 
der Bucherstube Fritz Seifert, n.d. ("This essay was writ- 
ten as the basis for a lecture which was delivered . . . 
May 12, 1938. It is her.e printed without any changes or 
additions. . . .") Engl. tr. by E. B. Ashton, Nietzsche and 
Christianity. Chicago: Henry Regnery, Gateway Editions, 
1961. A miniature version of the approach encountered in 
Jaspers' big Nietzsche. 

. "Kierkegaard und Nietzsche" in Vernunft und 

Existens. Groningen: J. W. Wolters, 1935. Engl. tr. by 
William Earle in Reason and Existenz. New York: Noon- 
day Press, 1955. Reprinted in Walter Kaufmann, Existen- 
tialism from Dostoeosky to Sartre. New York: Meridian 
Books, 1956, pp. 158-84. 

Kaufmann, Walter. Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, 
Antichrist. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950. 
2nd rev. ed., New York: Meridian Books, 1956. 3rd rev. 
ed. (with substantial additions, including a comprehensive 
bibliography, a long appendix dealing with recent German 
editions of Nietzsche, and a detailed discussion of 



Nietzsche's relationship to Paul Ree and Lou Salom6), 
Princeton: Princeton University Press, and New York: 
Random House, Vintage Books, 1968. 

. Five chapters on Nietzsche in From Shakespeare to 
Existentialism. Boston: Beacon Press, 1959; rev. ed., Gar- 
den City, N.Y.: Doubleday Anchor Books, i960. 

. Articles on Nietzsche in Encyclopedia Americana; 

Encyclopaedia Britannica; Collier's Encyclopedia; Grolier 
Encyclopedia; The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 

. Tragedy and Philosophy. Garden City, N.Y.: Double- 
day, 1968. 

. Exposes of My Sister and I as a forgery, falsely at- 
tributed to Nietzsche, in Milwaukee Journal, February 24, 
1952; in Partisan Review, vol. XIX no. 3 (May /June 1952), 
372-76; and of the rev. ed. in The Philosophical Review, 
vol. LXIV no. 1 (January 1955), i52f. 

Klagcs, Ludwig. Die Psychologischen Errungenschaften 
Nietzsclws. Leipzig: Barth, 1926. 

Lowith, Karl. Von Hegel bh Nietzsche. Zurich and New 
York: Europa, 1941. Engl. tr. by David E. Green, From 
Hegel to Nietzsche. New York: Holt, 1964; Garden City, 
N.Y.: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1967. Includes eight sec- 
tions on Nietzsche. 

Love, Frederick R. Young Nietzsche and the Wagnerian Ex- 
perience. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 
1963. A good monograph that takes into account Nietz- 
sche's compositions, including unpublished items in the 
archives in Weimar. It is full of pertinent, but untranslated, 
German quotations. The break with Wagner is not in- 
cluded. Love shows how Nier/.sche never was "a passionate 
devotee of Wagnerian music." 

Morgan, George A., Jr. What Nietzsche Means. Cambridge, 
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1941. Reprinted, unrev., 
New York: Harper & Row, Torchbooks, 1965. An excep- 
tionally careful study very useful as a reference work. 

Vaihinger, Hans. Die Philosophie des Ali-Ob. Leipzig: 
Meiner, 1911. Eng. tr. by C. K. Ogden, The Philosophy 0] 
'As If.' New York: Harcourt Brace, 1924. The chapter 
"Nietzsche and His Doctrine of Conscious Illusion (The 
Will to Illusion)," pp. 341-62, remains one of the most 
interesting studies in any language of Nietzsche's theory 
of knowledge. 



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Letter to His Sister 

(Bonn, 1865) 

... As for your principle that truth is always on 
the side of the more difficult, I admit this in part. 
However, it is difficult to believe that 2 times 2 is 
not 4; does that make it true? On the other hand, is it 
really so difficult simply to accept everything that one 
has been brought up on and that has gradually struck 
deep roots — what is considered truth in the circle of 
one's relatives and of many good men, and what, 
moreover, really comforts and elevates man? Is that 
more difficult than to strike new paths, fighting the 
habitual, experiencing the insecurity of independence 
and the frequent wavering of one's feelings and even 
one's conscience, proceeding often without any con- 
solation, but ever with the eternal goal of the true, 
the beautiful, and the good? Is it decisive after all that 
we arrive at that view of God, world, and reconciliation 
which makes us feel most comfortable? Rather, is not 
the result of his inquiries something wholly indifferent 
to the true inquirer? Do we after all seek rest, peace, 
and pleasure in our inquiries? No, only truth — even 



if it be the most abhorrent and ugly. Still one last 
question: if we had believed from childhood that all 
salvation issued from someone other than Jesus — say, 
from Mohammed — is it not certain that we should have 
experienced the same blessings? . . . Faith does not 
offer the least support for a proof of objective truth. 
Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for 
peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to 
be a devotee of truth, then inquire. . . . 

Fragment of a Critique of Schopenhauer 


. . . The errors of great men are venerable be- 
cause they are more fruitful than the truths of little 
men. ... (1, 393) 1 

On Ethics 


Schopenhauer's ethics is often criticized for not 
having the form of an imperative. 

What the philosophers call character is an incurable 
disease. An imperative ethics is one that deals with the 
symptoms of the disease, having the faith, while it 
fights them, that it is getting rid of the real origin, the 
basic evil. Anyone who would base practical ethics on 
aesthetics would be like a physician who would fight 
only those symptoms which are ugly and offend good 

Philosophically viewed, it makes no difference 
whether a character expresses itself or whether its 

1 These numbers refer to the Musarion edition. 

expressions are kept back: not only the thought but 
the disposition already makes the murderer; he is 
guilty without any deed. On the other hand, there is 
an ethical aristocracy just as there is a spiritual one: 
one cannot enter it by receiving a title or by marriage. 

In what way, then, are education, popular instruction, 
catechism, justified and even necessary? 

The unchangeable character is influenced in its ex- 
pressions by its environment and education — not in its 
essence. A popular ethics therefore wants to suppress 
bad expressions as far as possible, for the sake of the 
general welfare — an undertaking that is strikingly simi- 
lar to the police. The means for this is a religion with 
rewards and punishments: for the expressions alone 
matter. Therefore the catechism can say: Thou shalt 
not kill! Thou shalt not curse! etc. Nonsensical, how- 
ever, is an imperative: "Be goodl" as well as, "Be 
wise!" or, "Be talented!" 

The "general welfare" is not the sphere of truth; for 
truth demands to be declared even if it is ugly and 

If we admit, for example, the truth of the doctrine 
of Schopenhauer (but also of Christianity) concerning 
the redemptive power of suffering, then it becomes 
regard for the "general welfare" not only not to lessen 
suffering, but perhaps even to increase it — not only for 
oneself but also for others. Pushed to this limit, prac- 
tical ethics becomes ugly — even consistent cruelty to 
human beings. Similarly, the effect of Christianity is 
unnerving when it commands respect for every kind 
of magistrate, etc., as well as acceptance of all suffer- 
ing without any attempt at resistance. (i, 404 /.) 



Note (1870-71) 

A state that cannot attain its ultimate goal usually 
swells to an unnaturally large size. The world-wide 
empire of the Romans is nothing sublime compared to 
Athens. The strength that really should go into the 
flower here remains in the leaves and stem, which 
flourish. (in, 384) 


Homer's Contest 1 


When one speaks of humanity, the idea is funda- 
mental that this is something which separates and 
distinguishes man from nature. In reality, however, 
there is no such separation: "natural" qualities and 
those called truly "human" are inseparably grown 
together. Man, in his highest and noblest capacities, is 
wholly nature and embodies its uncanny dual char- 
acter. Those of his abilities which are terrifying and 
considered inhuman may even be the fertile soil out 
of which alone all humanity can grow in impulse, deed, 
and work. 

Thus the Greeks, the most humane men of ancient 
times, have a trait of cruelty, a tigerish lust to anni- 
hilate^ — a trait that is also very distinct in that gro- 
tesquely enlarged mirror image of the Hellenes, in 
Alexander the Great, but that really must strike fear 
into our hearts throughout their whole history and 

1 A fragment published posthumously. 

mythology, if we approach them with the flabby con- 
cept of modern "humanity." When Alexander has the 
feet of Batis, the brave defender of Gaza, pierced, and 
ties him, alive, to his carriage, to drag him about while 
his soldiers mock, that is a revolting caricature of 
Achilles, who maltreats Hector's corpse in a similar 
fashion at night; and even this trait is offensive to us 
and makes us shudder. Here we look into the abyss 
of hatred. With the same feeling we may also observe 
the mutual laceration, bloody and insatiable, of two 
Greek parties, for example, in the Corcyrean revolution. 
When the victor in a fight among the cities executes 
the entire male citizenry in accordance with the laws 
of war, and sells all the women and children into 
slavery, we see in the sanction of such a law that the 
Greeks considered it an earnest necessity to let their 
hatred flow forth fully; in such moments crowded and 
swollen feeling relieved itself: the tiger leaped out, 
voluptuous cruelty in his terrible eyes. Why must the 
Greek sculptor give form again and again to war and 
combat in innumerable repetitions: distended human 
bodies, their sinews tense with hatred or with the arro- 
gance of triumph; writhing bodies, wounded; dying 
bodies, expiring? Why did the whole Greek world exult 
over the combat scenes of the Iliad? I fear that we do 
not understand these in a sufficiently "Greek" manner; 
indeed, that we should shudder if we were ever to 
understand them "in Greek." 

But what lies behind the Homeric world, as the 
womb of everything Hellenic? For in that world the ex- 
traordinary artistic precision, calm, and purity of the 
lines raise us above the mere contents: through an artis- 
tic deception the colors seem lighter, milder, warmer; 
and in this colorful warm light the men appear better 


and more sympathetic. But what do we behold when, 
no longer led and protected by the hand of Homer, we 
stride back into the pre-Homeric world? Only night 
and terror and an imagination accustomed to the hor- 
rible. What kind of earthly existence do these revolting, 
terrible theogonic myths reflect? A life ruled only by 
the children of Night: strife, lust, deceit, old age, and 
death. Let us imagine the atmosphere of Hesiod's 
poem, already hard to breathe, made still denser and 
darker, and without all the mollifications and purifi- 
cations that streamed over Hellas from Delphi and 
from numerous abodes of the gods; let us mix this 
thickened Boeotian atmosphere with the gloomy volup- 
tuousness of the Etruscans; then such a reality would 
wring from us a world of myth in which Uranos, Cro- 
nos, Zeus, and the wars with the Titans would seem 
like a relief: in this brooding atmosphere, combat is 
salvation; the cruelty of victory is the pinnacle of life's 

Further, it was in truth from murder and the expia- 
tion of murder that the conception of Greek law devel- 
oped; so, too, the nobler culture takes its first wreath 
of victory from the altar of the expiation of murder. 
After the wave of that bloody age comes a trough that 
cuts deep into Hellenic history. The names of Orpheus, 
Musaeus, and their cults reveal the consequences to 
which the uninterrupted spectacle of a world of strug- 
gle and cruelty was pressing: toward a disgust with 
existence, toward the conception of this existence as 
a punishment and penance, toward the belief in the 
identity of existence and guilt. But it is precisely these 
consequences that are not specifically Hellenic: in this 
respect, Greece is at one with India and the Orient in 
general. The Hellenic genius was ready with yet an- 

other answer to the question, "What is a life of strug- 
gle and victory for?" and it gave that answer through 
the whole breadth of Greek history. 

To understand it, we must start with the point that 
the Greek genius tolerated the terrible presence of this 
urge and considered it justified; while the Orphic move- 
ment contained the idea that a life with such an urge 
as its root was not worth living. Struggle and the joy 
of victory were recognized — and nothing distinguishes 
the Greek world from ours as much as the coloring, 
so derived, of individual ethical concepts, for example, 
Eris 1 and envy. • . • 

And not only Aristotle but the whole of Greek 
antiquity thinks differently from us about hatred and 
envy, and judges with Hesiod, who in one place calls 
one Eris evil — namely, the one that leads men into 
hostile fights of annihilation against one another — while 
praising another Eris as good — the one that, as jeal- 
ousy, hatred, and envy, spurs men to activity: not to 
the activity of fights of annihilation but to the activity 
of fights which are contests. The Greek is envious, and 
he does not consider this quality a blemish but the 
gift of a beneficent godhead. What a gulf of ethical 
judgment lies between us and himl . . . 

The greater and more sublime a Greek is, the 
brighter the flame of ambition that flares out of him, 
consuming everybody who runs on the same course. 
Aristotle once made a list of such hostile contests in 
the grand manner; the most striking of the examples 
is that even a dead man can still spur a live one to 
consuming jealousy. That is how Aristode describes 
the relationship of Xenophanes of Colophon to Homer. 
We do not understand the full strength of Xenophanes* 



attack on the national hero of poetry, unless — as again 
later with Plato — we see that at its root lay an over- 
whelming craving to assume the place of the over- 
thrown poet and to inherit his fame. Every great Hel- 
lene hands on the torch of the contest; every great 
virtue kindles a new greatness. When the young The- 
mistocles could not sleep because he was thinking of 
the laurels of Miltiadcs, his urge, awakened so early, 
was finally set free in the long contest with Aristides, 
to become that remarkably unique, purely instinctive 
genius of his political activity, which Thucydides de- 
scribes for us. How characteristic are question and 
answer when a noted opponent of Pericles is asked 
whether he or Pericles is the best wrestler in the city, 
and answers: "Even when I throw him down, he denies 
that he fell and attains his purpose, persuading even 
those who saw him fall." 

If one wants to observe this conviction — wholly un- 
disguised in its most naive expression — that the contest 
is necessary to preserve the health of the state, then one 
should reflect on the original meaning of ostracism, for 
example, as it is pronounced by the Ephesians when 
they banish Hermodorus: "Among us, no one shall be 
the best; but if someone is, then let him be elsewhere 
and among others." Why should no one be the best? Be- 
cause then the contest would come to an end and the 
eternal source of life for the Hellenic state would be en- 
dangered. . . . Originally this curious institution is 
not a safety valve but a means of stimulation: the 
individual who towers above the rest is eliminated so 
that the contest of forces may reawaken — an idea that 
is hostile to the "exclusiveness" of genius in the modem 
sense and presupposes that in the natural order of 
things there are always several geniuses who spur each 


other to action, even as they hold each other within the 
limits of measure. That is the core of the Hellenic 
notion of the contest: it abominates the rule of one and 
fears its dangers; it desires, as a protection against the 
genius, another genius. 

Every talent must unfold itself in fighting: that is 
the command of Hellenic popular pedagogy, whereas 
modern educators dread nothing more than the un- 
leashing of so-called ambition. . . . And just as the 
youths were educated through contests, their educators 
were also engaged in contests with each other. The 
great musical masters, Pindar and Simonides, stood 
side by side, mistrustful and jealous; in the spirit of 
contest, the sophist, the advanced teacher of antiquity,, 
meets another sophist; even the most universal type of 
instruction, through the drama, was meted out to the 
people only in the form of a tremendous wrestling; 
among the great musical and dramatic artists. How 
wonderfull "Even the artist hates the artist." Whereas: 
modern man fears nothing in an artist more than the 
emotion of any personal fight, the Greek knows the- 
artist only as engaged in a personal fight. Precisely 
where modern man senses the weakness of a work of 
art, the Hellene seeks the source of its greatest strength- 
What, for example, is of special artistic significance in 
Plato's dialogues is for the most part the result of a con- 
test with the art of the orators, the sophists, and the 
dramatists of his time, invented for the purpose of en- 
abling him to say in the end: "Look, I too can do what 
my great rivals can do; indeed, I can do it better than 
they. No Protagoras has invented myths as beautiful as 
mine; no dramatist such a vivid and captivating whole 
as my Symposion; no orator has written orations like 
those in my Gorgias — and now I repudiate all this en- 


tirely and condemn all imitative art. Only the contest 
made me a poet, a sophist, an orator." What a problem 
opens up before us when we inquire into the relation- 
ship of the contest to the conception of the work of artl 
However, when we remove the contest from Greek 
life we immediately look into that pre-Homeric abyss 
of a terrifying savagery of hatred and the lust to anni- 
hilate. This phenomenon unfortunately appears quite 
frequently when a great personality is suddenly re- 
moved from the contest by an extraordinarily brilliant 
deed and becomes hors de concours in his own judg- 
ment, as in that of his fellow citizens. The effect is 
almost without exception a terrifying one; and if one 
usually infers from this that the Greek was incapable 
of enduring fame and happiness, one should say more 
precisely that he was unable to endure fame without 
any further contest, or the happiness at the end of 
the contest. There is no clearer example than the 
last experiences of Miltiades. Placed on a solitary peak 
and elevated far above every fellow fighter by his 
incomparable success at Marathon, he feels a base, 
vengeful craving awaken in him against a Parian 
citizen with whom he has long had a feud. To satisfy 
this craving he misuses fame, state property, civic 
honor — and dishonors himself. ... An ignominious 
death sets its seal on his brilliant heroic career and 
darkens it for all posterity. After the battle of Marathon 
the envy of the heavenly powers seized him. And this 
divine envy is inflamed when it beholds a human being 
without a rival, unopposed, on a solitary peak of fame. 
Only the gods are beside him now — and therefore they 
are against him. They seduce him to a deed of hybris, 1 
and under it he collapses. 

1 "Overbearing." 

Let us note well that, just as Miltiades perishes, 
the noblest Greek cities perish too, when through merit 
and good fortune they arrive at the temple of Nike 
from the racecourse. Athens, who had destroyed the 
independence of her allies and then severely punished 
the rebellions of her subjects; Sparta, who expressed 
her domination over Hellas after the battle of Aegospot- 
amoi, in yet much harsher and crueler ways, have also, 
after the example of Miltiades, brought about their 
own destruction through deeds of hybris, as proof that 
without envy, jealousy, and ambition in the contest, 
the Hellenic city, like the Hellenic man, degenerates. 
He becomes evil and cruel; he becomes vengeful and 
godless; in short, he became "pre-Homeric." . . . 

Notes (1873) 

Deification of success is truly commensurate with 
human meanness. Whoever has closely studied even a 
single success knows what factors (stupidity, wicked- 
ness, laziness, etc.) have always helped — and not as 
the weakest factors either. It is mad that success is 
supposed to be worth more than the beautiful possi- 
bility which was still there immediately before. But 
to find in history the realization of the good and the 
just, that is blasphemy against the good and the just. 
This beautiful world history is, in Heraclitean terms, 
"a chaotic pile of rubbish." What is strong wins: that is 
the universal law. If only it were not so often precisely 
what is stupid and evill (vi, 334 f.) 

Hegel says: "That at the bottom of history, and par- 
ticularly of world history, there is a final aim, and that 


this has actually been realized in it and is being 
realized — the plan of Providence — that there is reason 
in history: that is to be shown philosophically and 
thus as altogether necessary." And: "A history without 
such an aim and without such a point of view would 
be merely a feeble-minded pastime of the imagination, 
not even a children's fairy tale, for even children 
demand some interest in stories, i.e., some aim one 
can at least feel, and the relation of the occurrences 
and actions to it." Conclusion: Every story must have 
an aim, hence also the history of a people and the 
history of the world. That means: because there is 
"world history" there must also be some aim in the 
world process. That means: we demand stories only 
with aims. But we do not at all demand stories about 
the world process, for we consider it a swindle to talk 
about it. That my life has no aim is evident even from 
the accidental nature of its origin; that I can posit an 
aim for myself is another matter. But a state has no 
aim; we alone give it this aim or that. (vi, 336) 


On the mythology of the historical. Hegel: "What 
happens to a people and occurs within it has its essen- 
tial significance in its relation to the state; the mere 
particularities of the individuals are most remote from 
this subject matter of history." But the state is always 
only the means for the preservation of many individ- 
uals: how could it be the aim? The hope is that with 
the preservation of so many blanks one may also pro- 
tect a few in whom humanity culminates. Otherwise it 
makes no sense at all to preserve so many wretched 
human beings. The history of the state is the history 
of the egoism of the masses and of the blind desire to 
exist; this striving is justified to some extent only in 

NOTES (1873) 41 
the geniuses, inasmuch as they can thus exist. Individ- 
ual and collective egoisms struggling against each other 
— an atomic whirl of egoisms — who would look for aims 

Through the genius something does result from this 
atomic whirl after all, and now one forms a milder 
opinion concerning the senselessness of this procedure 
— as if a blind hunter fired hundreds of times in vain 
and finally, by sheer accident, hit a bird. A result at 
last, he says to himself, and goes on firing, (vi, 336 f.) 

The damned folk soull When we speak of the Ger- 
man spirit we mean Luther, Goethe, Schiller, and a 
few others. It would be better even to speak of Luther- 
like people, etc. We want to be careful about calling 
something German: in the first place, it is the language; 
but to understand this as an expression of the folk 
character is a mere phrase, and so far it has not been 
possible to do so with any people without fatal vague- 
ness and figures of speech. Greek language and Greek 
"folk"! Let somebody bring them together! Moreover, 
it is the same as with writing: the most important 
basis of the language is not Greek but, as one now 
says, Indo-Germanic. It is somewhat better with style 
or the human being. To ascribe predicates to a people 
is always dangerous; in the end, everything is so mixed 
that a unity develops only late, through the language — 
or an illusion of unity. Germans, German Reich — that 
is something. Those speaking German — that is some- 
thing too. But those of German race! What is German 
as a quality of artistic style — that is yet to be found, 
just as among the Greeks the Greek style was found 
only late: an earlier unity did not exist, only a terrible 
mixture. (vi, 338/.) 




On Truth and Lie 
in an Extra-Moral Sense 1 


In some remote corner of the universe, poured out 
and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once 
was a star on which clever animals invented knowl- 
edge. That was the haughtiest and most mendacious 
minute of "world history" — yet only a minute. After 
nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and 
the clever animals had to die. 

One might invent such a fable and still not have 
illustrated sufficiently how wretched, how shadowy and 
flighty, how aimless and arbitrary, the human intellect 
appears in nature. There have been eternities when it 
did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing 
will have happened. For this intellect has no further 
mission that would lead beyond human life. It is 
human, rather, and only its owner and producer gives 
it such importance, as if the world pivoted around it. 
But if we could communicate with the mosquito, then 
we would learn that it floats through the air with the 
same self-importance, feeling within itself the flying 
center of the world. There is nothing in nature so 
despicable or insignificant that it cannot immediately 
be blown up like a bag by a slight breath of this 
power of knowledge; and just as every porter wants an 
admirer, the proudest human being, the philosopher, 
thinks that he sees the eyes of the universe tele- 

1 A fragment published posthumously. 

scopically focused from all sides on his actions and 

It is strange that this should be the effect of the 
intellect, for after all it was given only as an aid to the 
most unfortunate, most delicate, most evanescent 
beings in order to hold them for a minute in existence, 
from which otherwise, without this gift, they would 
have every reason to flee as quickly as Lessing's son. 
That haughtiness which goes with knowledge and feel- 
ing, which shrouds the eyes and senses of man in a 
blinding fog, therefore deceives him about the value 
of existence by carrying in itself the most flattering 
evaluation of knowledge itself. Its most universal effect 
is deception; but even its most particular effects have 
something of the same character. 

The intellect, as a means for the preservation of the 
individual, unfolds its chief powers in simulation; for 
this is the means by which the weaker, less robust in- 
dividuals preserve themselves, since they are denied 
the chance of waging the struggle for existence with 
homs or the fangs of beasts of prey. In man this art 
of simulation reaches its peak: here deception, flattery, 
lying and cheating, talking behind the back, posing, 
living in borrowed splendor, being masked, the dis- 
guise of convention, acting a role before others and 
before oneself — in short, the constant fluttering around 
the single flame of vanity is so much the rule and the 
law that almost nothing is more incomprehensible than 
how an honest and pure urge for truth could make its 
appearance among men. They are deeply immersed in 
illusions and dream images; their eye glides only over 
the surface of things and sees "forms"; their feeling 
nowhere leads into truth, but contents itself with the 
reception of stimuli, playing, as it were, a game of 
blindman's buff on the backs of things. Moreover, man 


permits himself to be lied to at night, his life long, 
when he dreams, and his moral sense never even tries 
to prevent this — although men have been said to have 
overcome snoring by sheer will power. 

What, indeed, does man know of himself! Can he 
even once perceive himself completely, laid out as if in 
an illuminated glass case? Does not nature keep much 
the most from him, even about his body, to spellbind 
and confine him in a proud, deceptive consciousness, 
far from the coils of the intestines, the quick current 
of the blood stream, and the involved tremors of the 
fibers? She threw away the key; and woe to the calam- 
itous curiosity which might peer just once through a 
crack in the chamber of consciousness and look down, 
and sense that man rests upon the merciless, the 
greedy, the insatiable, the murderous, in the indif- 
ference of his ignorance — hanging in dreams, as it 
were, upon the back of a tiger. In view of this, whence 
in all the world comes the urge for truth? 

Insofar as the individual wants to preserve himself 
against other individuals, in a natural state of affairs he 
employs the intellect mostly for simulation alone. But 
because man, out of need and boredom, wants to exist 
socially, herd-fashion, he requires a peace pact and he 
endeavors to banish at least the very crudest bellum 
omnium contra omnes 1 from his world. This peace pact 
brings with it something that looks like the first step to- 
ward the attainment of this enigmatic urge for truth. For 
now that is fixed which henceforth shall be "truth"; that 
is, a regularly valid and obligatory designation of things, 
is invented, and this linguistic legislation also furnishes 
the first laws of truth: for it is here that the contrast 
between truth and lie first originates. The liar uses 
the valid designations, the words, to make the unreal 

'"War of all against all." 

appear as real; he says, for example, "I am rich," when 
the word "poor" would be the correct designation of 
his situation. He abuses the fixed conventions by arbi- 
trary changes or even by reversals of the names. When 
he does this in a self-serving way damaging to others, 
then society will no longer trust him but exclude him. 
Thereby men do not flee from being deceived as much 
as from being damaged by deception: what they hate 
at this stage is basically not the deception but the bad, 
hostile consequences of certain kinds of deceptions. In 
a similarly limited way man wants the truth: he desires 
the agreeable life-preserving consequences of truth, but 
he is indifferent to pure knowledge, which has no con- 
sequences; he is even hostile to possibly damaging and 
destructive truths. And, moreover, what about these 
conventions of language? Are they really the products 
of knowledge, of the sense of truth? Do the desig- 
nations and the things coincide? Is language the 
adequate expression of all realities? 

Only through forgetfulness can man ever achieve the 
illusion of possessing a "truth" in the sense just desig- 
nated. If he does not wish to be satisfied with truth 
in the form of a tautology — that is, with empty shells — 
then he will forever buy illusions for truths. What is 
a word? The image of a nerve stimulus in sounds. But 
to infer from the nerve stimulus, a cause outside us, 
that is already the result of a false and unjustified appli- 
cation of the principle of reason. . . . The different 
languages, set side by side, show that what matters 
with words is never the truth, never an adequate ex- 
pression; else there would not be so many languages. 
The "thing in itself" (for that is what pure truth, with- 
out consequences, would be) is quite incomprehensible 
to the creators of language and not at all worth aiming 
for. One designates only the relations of things to man, 


and to express them one calls on the boldest meta- 
phors. A nerve stimulus, first transposed into an image 
— first metaphor. The image, in turn, imitated by a 
sound — second metaphor. . . . 

Let us still give special consideration to the forma- 
tion of concepts. Every word immediately becomes a 
concept, inasmuch as it is not intended to serve as a 
reminder of the unique and wholly individualized orig- 
inal experience to which it owes its birth, but must at 
the same time fit innumerable, more or less similar 
cases — which means, strictly speaking, never equal — 
in other words, a lot of unequal cases. Every concept 
originates through our equating what is unequal. No 
leaf ever wholly equals another, and the concept "leaf 
is formed through an arbitrary abstraction from these 
individual differences, through forgetting the distinc- 
tions; and now it gives rise to the idea that in nature 
there might be something besides the leaves which 
would be 'leaf" — some kind of original form after 
which all leaves have been woven, marked, copied, 
colored, curled, and painted, but by unskilled hands, 
so that no copy turned out to be a correct, reliable, and 
faithful image of the original form. We call a person 
"honest." Why did he act so honestly today? we ask. 
Our answer usually sounds like this: because of his 
honesty. Honesty! That is to say again: the leaf is the 
cause of the leaves. After all, we know nothing of an 
essence-like quality named "honesty"; we know only 
numerous individualized, and thus unequal actions, 
which we equate by omitting the unequal and by then 
calling them honest actions. In the end, we distill from 
them a qualitas occulta with the name of "honesty". . . . 

What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, 
metonyms, and anthropomorphisms — in short, a sum 

of human relations, which have been enhanced, trans- 
posed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and 
which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obliga- 
tory to a people: truths are illusions about which one 
has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors 
which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins 
which have lost their pictures and now matter only as 
metal, no longer as coins. 

We still do not know where the urge for truth comes 
from; for as yet we have heard only of the obligation 
imposed by society that it should exist: to be truthful 
means using the customary metaphors — in moral terms: 
the obligation to lie according to a fixed convention, to 
lie herd-like in a style obligatory for all. . . . 

Notes about Wagner 

(January 1874) 

If Goethe is a transposed painter and Schiller a 
transposed orator, then Wagner is a transposed actor. 

(vn, 341) 

As a pamphleteer he is an orator without the power 
to convince. (vn, 353) 


It was a special form of Wagner's ambition to relate 
himself to high points of the past: Schiller-Goethe, 
Beethoven, Luther, Greek tragedy, Shakespeare, Bis- 
marck. Only to the Renaissance could he establish no 
relationship; but he invented the German spirit as op- 
posed to the Romance. (vn, 353) 


Notes (1874) 

German Culture. . . . Political superiority without any 
real human superiority is most harmfuL One must seek 
to make amends for political superiority. To be 
ashamed of one's power. To use it in the most salutary 
way. Everybody thinks that the Germans may now rest 
on their moral and intellectual superiority. One seems 
to think that now it is time for something else, for the 
state. Till now, for "art," etc. This is an ignominious 
misunderstanding; there are seeds for the most glorious 
development of man. And these must perish for the 
sake of the state? What, after all, is a state? The time 
of the scholars is past. Their place must be taken by 
philalethes. 1 Tremendous power. The only way to use 
the present kind of German power correctly is to com- 
prehend the tremendous obligation which lies in it. 
Any slackening of cultural tasks would turn this power 
into the most revolting tyranny. (vu, 145/.) 

A great value of antiquity lies in the fact that its 
writings are the only ones that modem men still read 
with exactness. (vn, 156) 

Notes (1875) 

The political defeat of Greece was the greatest fail- 
ure of culture: for it has brought with it the revolting 
theory that one can foster culture only when one is 

1 "Friends of truth." 

NOTES (1875) 49 
armed to the teeth and wears boxing gloves. The rise 
of Christianity was the second great failure: raw power 
there and the dull intellect here became victors over 
the aristocratic genius among the nations. Being a 
Hellenophile means: being an enemy of raw power 
and dull intellects. In this way Sparta was the ruin of 
Hellas, for she forced Athens to become active in a 
federation and to throw herself entirely into politics. 

(vn, 192) 

There remains a grave doubt whether one may argue 
from languages to nationalities and relatedness to other 
nations. A victorious language is nothing but a frequent 
(not even a regular) sign of successful conquest. 
Where have there ever been autochthonous peoples? 
It is a very imprecise concept to speak of Greeks who 
did not yet live in Greece. What is characteristically 
Greek is much less the result of any disposition than of 
adapted institutions and of the language that has been 
accepted. (vu, 193) 

For the highest images in every religion there is an 
analogue in a state of the soul. The God of Moham- 
med — the solitude of the desert, the distant roar of a 
lion, the vision of a terrible fighter. The God of the 
Christians — everything that men and women associate 
with the word "love." The God of the Greeks — a beauti- 
ful dream image. (vu, 195) 

For once I want to enumerate everything that I no 
longer believe; also what I believe. 


In the great whirlpool of forces man stands with the 
conceit that this whirlpool is rational and has a rational 
aim: an errorl The only rational thing we know is what 
little reason man has: he must exert it a lot, and it is 
always ruinous for him when he abandons himself, 
say, to "Providence." 

The only happiness lies in reason; all the rest of the 
world is dismal. The highest reason, however, I see in 
the work of the artist, and he may experience it as 
such; there may also be something that, if onlv it could 
be produced consciously, would result in a still greater 
feeling of reason and happiness: for example, the 
course of the solar system, begetting and educating a 
human being. 

Happiness lies in the swiftness of feeling and think- 
ing: all the rest of the world is slow, gradual, and 
stupid. Whoever could feel the course of a light ray 
would be very happy, for it is very swift. 

Thinking of oneself gives little happiness. If, how- 
ever, one feels much happiness in this, it is because at 
bottom one is not thinking of oneself but of one's ideal. 
This is far, and only the swift reach it and are de- 
lighted, (vn, 211 /.) 

To educate educatorsl But the first ones must edu- 
cate themselves! And for these I write. (vii, 215) 

The better the state is established, the fainter is hu- 

To make the individual uncomfortable, that is my 
task. (vii, 216) 




Human, All-Too-Human 

editor's note 

Nietzsche's first five books, The Birth of Tragedy and the 
four Untimely Meditations, were essays. All of them dealt, 
in one way or another, with questions of value: the value 
of art and life itself, the value of history and the problem 
whether there are supra-historical values, and the value of 
self-perfection. This last point was central in the third 
Meditation, in which Nietzsche proposed that a new pic- 
ture of man was needed to counter the true but deadly 
Darwinian doctrine of the essential continuity of man and 
animal. Being determined, however, to build on an em- 
pirical foundation, instead of falling back on dogma or 
intuition, Nietzsche found himself unable to do what he 
wanted. Then, roughly at the same time he decided to 
break with Wagner, he gave up his previous style and 
method and turned to writing books composed of aphor- 
isms — largely concerned with human psychology or, in 
Nietzsche's phrase, with the "human, all-too-human." 

Original error of the philosopher. All philosophers 
share this common error: they proceed from contempo- 
rary man and think they can reach their goal through 
an analysis of this man. Automatically they think of 
"man" as an eternal verity, as something abiding in 
the whirlpool, as a sure measure of things. Everything 
that the philosopher says about man, however, is at 
bottom no more than a testimony about the man of a 
very limited period. Lack of a historical sense is the 
original error of all philosophers. . • . 




Misunderstanding of the dream. In the ages of crude 
primeval culture man believed that in dreams he got to 
know another real world; here is the origin of all meta- 
physics. Without the dream one would have found no 
occasion for a division of the world. The separation of 
body and soul, too, is related to the most ancient con- 
ception of the dream; also the assumption of a quasi- 
body of the soul, which is the origin of all belief in 
spirits and probably also of the belief in gods. "The 
dead live on; for they appear to the living in dreams"; 
this inference went unchallenged for many thousands 
of years. 


The sleep of virtue. When virtue has slept, she will 
get up more refreshed. 


Christianity as antiquity. When we hear the ancient 
bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: 
Is it really possible! this, for a Jew, crucified two thou- 
sand years ago, who said he was God's son. The proof 
of such a claim is lacking. Certainly the Christian re- 
ligion is an antiquity projected into our times from 
remote prehistory; and the fact that the claim is believed 
— whereas one is otherwise so strict in examining pre- 
tensions — is perhaps the most ancient piece of this 
heritage. A god who begets children with a mortal 
woman; a sage who bids men work no more, have no 
more courts, but look for the signs of the impending 
end of the world; a justice that accepts the innocent as 
a vicarious sacrifice; someone who orders his disciples 
to drink his blood; prayers for miraculous interven- 


tions; sins perpetrated against a god, atoned for by a 
god; fear of a beyond to which death is the portal; the 
form of the cross as a symbol in a time that no longer 
knows the function and the ignominy of the cross — 
how ghoulishly all this touches us, as if from the tomb 
of a primeval pastl Can one believe that such things 
are still believed? 


The artist's sense of truth. Regarding truths, the 
artist has a weaker morality than the thinker. He defi- 
nitely does not want to be deprived of the splendid and 
profound interpretations of life, and he resists sober, 
simple methods and results. Apparently he fights for 
the higher dignity and significance of man; in truth, 
he does not want to give up the most effective presup- 
positions of his art: the fantastic, mythical, uncertain, 
extreme, the sense for the symbolic, the overestimation 
of the person, the faith in some miraculous element in 
the genius. Thus he considers the continued existence 
of his kind of creation more important than scientific 
devotion to the truth in every form, however plain. 


Artists' ambition. The Greek artists, for example, the 
tragedians, wrote in order to triumph. Their whole art 
is unthinkable without the contest: Hesiod's good Eris, 
ambition, gave wings to their genius. Now this ambi- 
tion demanded above all that their work attain the 
highest excellence in their own eyes, as they under- 
stood excellence, without consideration for any prevail- 
ing taste or public opinion concerning excellence in a 
work of art. Thus Aeschylus and Euripides remained 
unsuccessful for a long time, until they had finally 
educated judges of art who appraised their work by 


the standards they themselves applied. Thus they 
strove for a triumph over their rivals in their own esti- 
mation, before their own seat of judgment; they really 
wanted to be more excellent; and then they demanded 
outside agreement with their own estimation, a con- 
firmation of their own judgment. Striving for honor 
here means "making oneself superior and also wishing 
to appear so publicly." If the first is lacking and the 
second is desired nevertheless, then one speaks of 
vanity. If the second is lacking and is not missed, then 
one speaks of pride. 


Untranslatable. It is neither the best nor the worst 
in a book that is untranslatable. 


Thoughts in a poem. The poet presents his thoughts 
festively, on the carriage of rhythm: usually because 
they could not walk. 


Ennoblement through degeneration. History teaches 
that the best-preserved tribe among a people is the 
one in which most men have a living communal sense 
as a consequence of sharing their customary and indis- 
putable principles — in other words, in consequence of 
a common faith. Here the good, robust mores thrive; 
here the subordination of the individual is learned and 
the character receives firmness, first as a gift and then 
is further cultivated. The danger to these strong com- 
munities founded on homogeneous individuals who 
have character is growing stupidity, which is gradually 
increased by heredity, and which, in any case, follows 
all stability like a shadow. It is the individuals who 

have fewer ties and are much more uncertain and mor- 
ally weaker upon whom spiritual progress depends in 
such communities; they are the men who make new 
and manifold experiments. Innumerable men of this 
sort perish because of their weakness without any very 
visible effect; but in general, especially if they have 
descendants, they loosen up and from time to time in- 
flict a wound on the stable element of a community. 
Precisely in this wounded and weakened spot the 
whole structure is inoculated, as it were, with some- 
thing new; but its over-all strength must be sufficient 
to accept this new element into its blood and assimilate 
it. Those who degenerate are of the highest importance 
wherever progress is to take place; every great progress 
must be preceded by a partial weakening. The strong- 
est natures hold fast to the type; the weaker ones help 
to develop it further. 

It is somewhat the same with the individual: rarely 
is degeneration, a crippling, even a vice or any physi- 
cal or moral damage, unaccompanied by some gain on 
the other side. The sicker man in a warlike and restless 
tribe, for example, may have more occasion to be by 
himself and may thus become calmer and wiser; the 
one-eyed will have one stronger eye; the blind will see 
more deeply within, and in any case have a keener 
sense of hearing. So the famous struggle for existence 
does not seem to me to be the only point of view from 
which to explain the progress or the strengthening of a 
human being or a race. Rather, two things must come 
together: first, the increase of stable power through 
close spiritual ties such as faith and communal feeling; 
then, the possibility of reaching higher goals through 
the appearance of degenerate types and, as a conse- 
quence, a partial weakening and wounding of the 
stable power: it is precisely the weaker natures who, 


being more delicate and freer, make progress possible. 

A people who crumble somewhere and become 
weak, but remain strong and healthy on the whole, 
are able to accept the infection of the new and absorb 
it to their advantage. In the case of the individual the 
task of education is this: to put him on his path so 
firmly and surely that, as a whole, he can never again 
be diverted. Then, however, the educator must wound 
him, or utilize the wounds destiny inflicts upon him; 
and when pain and need have thus developed, some- 
thing new and noble can then be inoculated in the 
wounded spots. His whole nature will absorb this, and 
later, in its fruits, show the ennoblement. 

Concerning the state, Machiavelli says that "the form 
of government is of very little importance, although 
the half-educated think otherwise. The great goal of 
statesmanship should be duration, which outweighs 
everything else because it is far more valuable than 
freedom." Only where the greatest duration is securely 
established and guaranteed is continual development 
and ennobling inoculation at all possible. Of course, 
authority, the dangerous companion of all duration, 
will usually try to resist this process. 


Reason, in the schools. The schools have no more im- 
portant task than to teach rigorous thinking, cautious 
judgment, and consistent inference; therefore they 
should leave alone whatever is not suitable for these 
operations: religion, for example. After all, they can 
be sure that later on man's fogginess, habit, and need 
will slacken the bow of an all-too-taut thinking. But as 
far as the influence of the schools reaches, they should 
enforce what is essential and distinctive in man: "rea- 

son and science, man's very highest power" — so Goethe, 
at least, judges. 

The great scientist von Baer sees the superiority of 
Europeans over Asiatics in their trained ability to give 
reasons for what they believe — something of which 
the latter are wholly incapable. Europe has gone 
through the school of consistent, critical thinking; Asia 
still does not know how to distinguish between truth 
and poetry, and is not conscious of whether its convic- 
tions are derived from personal observation and me- 
thodical thinking or from fantasies. 

Europe was made Europe by reason in the schools; 
in the Middle Ages Europe was on the way to becom- 
ing a piece and an appendix of Asia again — by losing 
the scientific sense that it owed to the Greeks. 


Tlie art of drawing inferences. The greatest progress 
men have made lies in their learning how to draw cor- 
rect inferences. That is by no means something natural, 
as Schopenhauer assumes when he says: "Of inference, 
all are capable; of judgment, only a few." It has been 
learned only late, and it still has not gained dominance. 
False inferences are the rule in earlier times; and the 
mythology of all peoples, their magic and their super- 
stition, their religious cults, their laws, are inexhausti- 
ble mines of proof for this proposition. 


Higher culture is necessarily misunderstood. He who 
has but two strings on his instrument — like the scholars 
who, in addition to the urge for knowledge, have only 
the religious urge, instilled by education — does not un- 
derstand those who can play on more strings. It is of 


the essence of the higher, multi-stringed culture that it 
is always misinterpreted by the lower culture — as hap- 
pens, for example, when art is considered a disguised 
form of religion. Indeed, people who are only religious 
understand even science as a search of the religious 
feeling, just as deaf-mutes do not know what music is, 
if it is not visible movement. 


The most dangerous party member. In every party 
there is one member who, by his all-too-devout pro- 
nouncement of the party principles, provokes the 
others to apostasy. 


Why one contradicts. One often contradicts an opin- 
ion when it is really only the tone in which it has been 
presented that is unsympathetic. 


The experience of Socrates. When one has become 
a master in some field one has usually, for that very 
reason, remained a complete amateur in most other 
things; but one judges just the other way around, as 
Socrates had already found out. This is what makes 
association with masters disagreeable. 1 


From the mother. Everyone carries in himself an 
image of woman derived from the mother; by this he 
is determined to revere women generally, or to hold 
them in low esteem, or to be generally indifferent to 

1 Wagner liked to be called "master." 




Friendship with women. Women can form a friend- 
ship with a man very well; but to preserve it — to that 
end a slight physical antipathy must probably help. 


Marriage as a long conversation. When marrying, 
one should ask oneself this question: Do you believe 
that you will be able to converse well with this woman 
into your old age? Everything .else in marriage is 
transitory, but the most time during the association 
belongs to conversation. 


Girls' dreams. Inexperienced girls flatter themselves 
with the notion that it is within their power to make 
a man happy; later they leam that it means holding a 
man in low esteem to assume that only a girl is needed 
to make him happy. The vanity of women demands 
that a man be more than a happy husband. 


Faust and Gretchen dying out. According to the 
very good insight of a scholar, the educated men of 
contemporary Germany resemble a mixture of Mephis- 
topheles and Wagner, but certainly not Faust, whom 
our grandfathers, at least in their youth, still felt stir- 
ring within. Thus there are two reasons — to continue 
this proposition — why the Gretchens are not suitable 
for them. And since they are no longer desired, they 
apparently die out. 


Something about the future of marriage. Those noble 
free-spirited women who have made the education and 


elevation of the female sex their task should not over- 
look one consideration: marriage, according to its 
highest conception as a friendship between the souls 
of two human beings of different sex, in other words, 
as it is hoped for in the future, concluded for the pur- 
pose of begetting and educating a new generation — 
such a marriage, which uses the sensual, as it were, 
only as a rare means to a greater end, probably re- 
quires, I fear, a natural aid: concubinage. If, for rea- 
sons of the husband's health, the wife should also serve 
for the sole satisfaction of the sexual need, then the 
choice of a wife will be decisively influenced by a false 
consideration that is contrary to the aims suggested; 
the production of offspring becomes accidental, and a 
good education highly improbable. A good wife — who 
is supposed to be friend, helper, bearer of children, 
mother, head of the family, manager, and who may 
even have to stand at the head of her own business or 
office, quite apart from her husband — cannot at the 
same time be a concubine: generally, this would be 
asking too much of her. Thus the future might see a 
contrary development to what occurred in Periclean 
Athens: the men, who at that time found little more 
than concubines in their wives, turned to the Aspasias 
because they desired the attractions of a companion- 
ship that would liberate head and heart, as only the 
grace and spiritual suppleness of women can provide. 
All human institutions, like marriage, permit only a 
limited degree of practical idealization; failing that, 
crude remedies become immediately necessary. 


War. Against war one can say: It makes the victor 
stupid, the vanquished malignant. In favor of war: 


Through both of these effects it barbarizes and thereby 
makes more natural; it is a sleep or a winter for culture, 
and man emerges from it stronger for good and evil. 


My Utopia. In a better arrangement of society hard 
labor and the troubles of life will be meted out to those 
who suffer least from them; hence, to the most obtuse, 
and then, step by step, up to those who are most sensi- 
tive to the highest and most sublimated kinds of suffer- 
ing and who thus still suffer when life is made easiest. 


Resurrection of the spirit. On the political sickbed a 
people is usually rejuvenated and rediscovers its spirit, 
after having gradually lost it in seeking and preserving 
power. Culture owes its peaks to politically weak ages. 


The European man and the abolition of nations. 
Trade and industry, books and letters, the way in. 
which all higher culture is shared, the rapid change of 
house and scenery, the present nomadic life of every- 
one who is not a landowner — these circumstances nec- 
essarily produce a weakening, and finally the abolition, 
of nations, at least in Europe; and as a consequence 
of continual intermarriage there must develop a mixed 
race, that of the European man. ... It is not the in- 
terest of the many (of peoples), as is often claimed, 
but above all the interest of certain royal dynasties 
and also of certain classes in commerce and society, 
that drives to nationalism. Once one has recognized 
this, one should declare oneself without embarrassment 
as a good European and work actively for the amalga- 


mation of nations. In this process the Germans could 
be helpful by virtue of their long proven skill as inter- 
preters and mediators among peoples. 

Incidentally, the whole problem of the Jews exists 
only in nation states, for here their energy and higher 
intelligence, their accumulated capital of spirit and 
will, gathered from generation to generation through a 
long schooling in suffering, must become so preponder- 
ant as to arouse mass envy and hatred. In almost all 
contemporary nations, therefore — in direct proportion 
to the degree to which they act up nationalistically — 
the literary obscenity is spreading of leading the Jews 
to slaughter as scapegoats of every conceivable public 
and internal misfortune. As soon as it is no longer a 
matter of preserving nations, but of producing the 
strongest possible European mixed race, the Jew is just 
as useful and desirable an ingredient as any other na- 
tional remnant. Unpleasant, even dangerous, qualities 
can be found in every nation and every individual: it 
is cruel to demand that the Jew be an exception. In 
him, these qualities may even be dangerous and revolt- 
ing to an unusual degree; and perhaps the young 
stock-exchange Jew is altogether the most disgusting 
invention of mankind. In spite of that, I should like to 
know how much one must forgive a people in a total 
accounting when they have had the most painful his- 
tory of all peoples, not without the fault of all of us, 
and when one owes to them the noblest man (Christ), 
the purest sage (Spinoza), the most powerful book, 
and the most effective moral law in the world. More- 
over, in the darkest times of the Middle Ages, when 
the Asiatic cloud masses had gathered heavily over 
Europe, it was Jewish free-thinkers, scholars, and 
physicians who clung to the banner of enlightenment 
and spiritual independence in the face of the harshest 


personal pressures and defended Europe against Asia. 
We owe it to their exertions, not least of all, that a 
more natural, more rational, and certainly unmythical 
explanation of the world was eventually able to tri- 
umph again, and that the bond of culture which now 
links us with the enlightenment of Greco-Roman an- 
tiquity remained unbroken. If Christianity has done 
everything to orientalize the Occident, Judaism has 
helped significantly to occidentalize it again and again: 
in a certain sense this means as much as making 
Europe's task and history a continuation of the Greek. 


And to say it once more. Public opinions — private 


Enemies of truth. Convictions are more dangerous 
enemies of truth than lies. 


The value of insipid opponents. At times one re- 
mains faithful to a cause only because its opponents 
do not cease to be insipid. 


Nor suitable as a party member. Whoever thinks 
much is not suitable as a party member: he soon 
thinks himself right through the party. 


On the whole, scientific methods are at least as im- 
portant as any other result of research: for it is upon 
the insight into method that the scientific spirit de- 
pends: and if these methods were lost, then all the 


results of science could not prevent a renewed triumph 
of superstition and nonsense. Clever people may learn 
as much as they wish of the results of science — still 
one will always notice in their conversation, and es- 
pecially in their hypotheses, that they lack the scien- 
tific spirit; they do not have that instinctive mistrust of 
the aberrations of thought which through long training 
are deeply rooted in the soul of every scientific person. 
They are content to find any hypothesis at all concern- 
ing some matter; then they are all fire and flame for it 
and think that is enough. To have an opinion means 
for them to fanaticize for it and thenceforth to press it 
to their hearts as a conviction. If something is unex- 
plained, they grow hot over the first notion that comes 
into their heads and looks like an explanation — which 
results progressively in the worst consequences, espe- 
cially in the sphere of politics. For that reason every- 
one should now study at least one science from the 
bottom up: then he will know what method means and 
how important is the utmost circumspection. • . . 


Mixed Opinions and Maxims 

editor's note 

In 1879 Nietzsche brought out another collection of 
aphorisms under this title, as a sequel to Human, All-Too- 
Human, published the year before. 


Dissipation. The mother of dissipation is not joy but 



"Love." The most subtle artifice that distinguishes 
Christianity from other religions is a word: it speaks 
of love. Thus it became the lyrical religion (whereas 
in both their other creations the Semites presented the 
world with heroic-epic religions). There is something 
so ambiguous and suggestive about the word love, 
something that speaks to memory and to hope, that 
even the lowest intelligence and the coldest heart still 
feel something of the glimmer of this word. The 
cleverest woman and the most vulgar man recall the 
relatively least selfish moments of their whole life, even 
if Eros has taken only a low flight with them; and for 
those countless ones who miss love, whether from their 
parents or their children or their beloved, and espe- 
cially for people with sublimated sexuality, Christianity 
has always been a find. 


Readers of aphorisms. The worst readers of aphor- 
isms are the author's friends if they are intent on guess- 
ing back from the general to the particular instance 
to which the aphorism owes its origin; for with such 
pot-peeking they reduce the author's whole effort to 
nothing; so that they deservedly gain, not a philosophic 
outlook or instruction, but — at best, or at worst — noth- 
ing more than the satisfaction of vulgar curiosity. 


Sign of rank. All poets and writers who are in love 
with the superlative want more than they are capable 




Jokes. A joke is the epigram on the death of a feel- 


Humaneness in friendship and mastership. "If thou 
wilt go toward moming, then I will go toward eve- 
ning": to feel this way is a high sign of humaneness in 
a closer association: without this feeling, every friend- 
ship, every discipleship and pupilship, becomes at one 
time or another hypocrisy. 


Way to a Christian virtue. Learning from one's 
enemies is the best way toward loving them; for it 
makes us grateful to them. 


Every philosophy is the philosophy of some stage of 
life. The stage of life at which a philosopher found his 
doctrine reverberates through it; he cannot prevent 
this, however far above time and hour he may feel. 
Thus Schopenhauer's philosophy remains the reflection 
of. ardent and melancholy youth — it is no way of think- 
ing for older people. And Plato's philosophy recalls the 
middle thirties, when a cold and a hot torrent often 
roar toward each other, so that a mist and tender little 
clouds form — and under favorable circumstances and 
the rays of the sun, an enchanting rainbow. 


The party man. The true party man leams no longer 
— he only experiences and judges; while Solon, who 

was never a party man but pursued his goal alongside 
and above the parties, or against them, is characteris- 
tically the father of that plain maxim in which the 
health and inexhaustibility of Athens is contained: "I 
grow old and always continue to learn." 


Unfaithfulness, a condition of mastership. Nothing 
avails: every master has but one disciple, and that one 
becomes unfaithful to him, for he too is destined for 


The journey to Hades. I too have been in the under- 
world, like Odysseus, and I shall yet return there often; 
and not only sheep have I sacrificed to be able to talk 
with a few of the dead, but I have not spared my own 
blood. Four pairs did not deny themselves to me as I 
sacrificed: Epicurus and Montaigne, Goethe and Spi- 
noza, Plato and Rousseau, Pascal and Schopenhauer. 
With these I must come to terms when I have long 
wandered by myself; they shall tell me whether I am 
right or wrong; to them I want to listen when, in the 
process, they tell each other whether they are right or 
wrong. . • . 




The Wanderer and His Shadow 

editor's note 

This collection of aphorisms was first published in 1880, as 
the final sequel to Human, All-Too-Human. 


The bite of conscience. The bite of conscience, like 
the bite of a dog into a stone, is a stupidity. 


Prohibitions without reasons. A prohibition, the rea- 
son for which we do not understand or admit, is almost 
a command not only for the stubborn but also for those 
who thirst for knowledge: one risks an experiment to 
find out why the prohibition was pronounced. Moral 
prohibitions, like those of the Decalogue, are suitable 
only for an age of subjugated reason: now, such a pro- 
hibition as "Thou shalt not kill" or "Thou shalt not 
commit adultery," presented without reasons, would 
have a harmful rather than a useful effect. 

t8 5 ] 

The persecutor of God. Paul thought up the idea, 
and Calvin re-thought it, that for innumerable people 
damnation has been decreed from eternity, and that 
this beautiful world plan was instituted to reveal the 
glory of God: heaven and hell and humanity are thus 
supposed to exist — to satisfy the vanity of God! What 
cruel and insatiable vanity must have flared in the soul 
of the man who thought this up first, or second. Paul 
has remained Saul after all — the persecutor of God. 




Socrates. If all goes well, the time will come when, 
to develop oneself morally-rationally, one will take up 
the memorabilia of Socrates rather than the Bible, and 
when Montaigne and Horace will be employed as pre- 
cursors and guides to the understanding of the simplest 
and most imperishable mediator-sage, Socrates. The 
roads of the most divergent philosophic ways of life 
lead back to him; at bottom they are the ways of life 
of the different temperaments, determined by reason 
and habit, and in all cases pointing with their peaks to 
joy in life and in one's own self — from which one 
might well infer that the most characteristic feature of 
Socrates was that he shared in all temperaments. Above 
the founder of Christianity, Socrates is distinguished 
by the gay kind of seriousness and that wisdom full of 
pranks which constitute the best state of the soul of 
man. Moreover, he had the greater intelligence. 


The Faust idea. A little seamstress is seduced and 
made unhappy; a great scholar in all four branches of 
learning is the evildoer. Surely that could not have 
happened without supernatural interference? No, of 
course not! Without the aid of the incarnate devil the 
great scholar could never have accomplished this. 

Should this really be the greatest German "tragic 
idea," as is said among Germans? But for Goethe even 
this idea was still too terrible. His mild heart could 
not help putting the little seamstress, "the good soul 
who forgot herself but once," close to the saints after 
her involuntary death; indeed, by a trick played oa 
the devil at the decisive moment, he even brought the 
great scholar to heaven at just the right time — "the 


good man" with the "darkling aspiration"! And there, 

in heaven, the lovers find each other again. 

Goethe once said that his nature was too conciliatory 
for the truly tragic. 


Classical and romantic. The classically disposed spir- 
its no less than those romantically inclined — as these 
two species always exist — carry a vision of the future: 
but the former out of a strength of their time; the lat- 
ter, out of its weakness. 


Why beggars still live. If all alms were given only 
from pity, all beggars would have starved long ago. 


Why beggars still live. The greatest giver of alms is 


Letter. A letter is an unannounced visit; the mail- 
man, the mediator of impolite incursions. One ought to 
have one hour in every eight days for receiving letters, 
and then take a bath. 


There are no educators. As a thinker, one should 
speak only of self-education. The education of youth 
by others is either an experiment, conducted on one as 
yet unknown and unknowable, or a leveling on prin- 
ciple, to make the new character, whatever it may be, 
conform to the habits and customs that prevail: in both 
cases, therefore, something unworthy of the thinker — 
the work of parents and teachers, whom an audaciously 
honest person has called nos ennemis naturels. 


One day, when in the opinion of the world one has 
long been educated, one discovers oneself: that is 
where the task of the thinker begins; now the time has 
come to invoke his aid — not as an educator but as one 
who has educated himself and thus has experience. 


The teacher a necessary evil. As few people as possi- 
ble between the productive spirits and the hungering, 
receiving spirits! For the intermediaries falsify the 
nourishment almost automatically when they mediate 
it: then, as a reward for their mediation, they want too 
much for themselves, which is thus taken away from 
the original productive spirits; namely, interest, admira- 
tion, time, money, and other things. Hence one should 
consider the teacher, no less than the shopkeeper, a 
necessary evil, an evil to be kept as small as possible. 
If the trouble in the German situation today has perhaps 
its main reason in the fact that too many people live 
by trade and want to live well (and thus seek to cut 
the producer's prices as much as possible while at the 
same time raising the prices to the consumer, in order 
to derive an advantage from the greatest possible dam- 
age to both ) , then one can certainly find a main reason 
for the spiritual troubles in the surplus of teachers: on 
their account, one leams so little and so badly. 


The means to real peace. No government admits any 
more that it keeps an army to satisfy occasionally the 
desire for conquest. Rather the army is supposed to 
serve for defense, and one invokes the morality that 
approves of self-defense. But this implies one's own 
morality and the neighbor's immorality; for the neigh- 
bor must be thought of as eager to attack and conquer 


if our state must think of means of self-defense. More- 
over, the reasons we give for requiring an army imply 
that our neighbor, who denies the desire for conquest 
just as much as does our own state, and who, for his 
part, also keeps an army only for reasons of self-de- 
fense, is a hypocrite and a cunning criminal who 
would like nothing better than to overpower a harmless 
and awkward victim without any fight. Thus all states 
are now ranged against each other: they presuppose 
their neighbor's bad disposition and their own good 
disposition. This presupposition, however, is inhumane, 
as bad as war and worse. At bottom, indeed, it is itself 
the challenge and the cause of wars, because, as I have 
said, it attributes immorality to the neighbor and thus 
provokes a hostile disposition and act. We must abjure 
the doctrine of the army as a means of self-defense just 
as completely as the desire for conquests. 

And perhaps the great day will come when a people, 
distinguished by wars and victories and by the highest 
development of a military order and intelligence, and 
accustomed to make the heaviest sacrifices for these 
things, will exclaim of its own free will, "We break the 
sword," and will smash its entire military establishment 
down to its lowest foundations. Rendering oneself un- 
armed when one had been the best-armed, out of a 
height of feeling — that is the means to real peace, 
which must always rest on a peace of mind; whereas 
the so-called armed peace, as it now exists in all coun- 
tries, is the absence of peace of mind. One trusts 
neither oneself nor one's neighbor and, half from 
hatred, half from fear, does not lay down arms. Rather 
perish than hate and fear, and twice rather perish than 
make oneself hated and feared — this must someday be- 
come the highest maxim for every single common- 
wealth too. 

Our liberal representatives, as is well known, lack 
the time for reflecting on the nature of man: else they 
would know that they work in vain when they work for 
a "gradual decrease of the military burden." Rather, 
only when this kind of need has become greatest will 
the kind of god be nearest who alone can help here. 
The tree of war-glory can only be destroyed all at once, 
by a stroke of lightning: but lightning, as indeed you 
know, comes from a cloud — and from up high. 

Letter to Overbeck 

(Naumburg, November 14, 1879) 
. . . My mother read to me: Gogol, Lermontov, 
Bret Harte, M. Twain, E. A. Poe. If you do not yet 
know the latest book by Twain, The Adventures of 
Tom Sawyer, it would be a pleasure for me to make 
you a little present of it. . . . 

Notes (1880-81) 

A girl who surrenders her virginity to a man who 
has not first sworn solemnly before witnesses that he 
will not leave her again for the rest of her life not 
only is considered imprudent but is also called im- 
moral. She did not follow the mores; she was not only 
imprudent but also disobedient, for she knew what the 
mores commanded. Where the mores command dif- 
ferently, the conduct of the girl in such a case would 
not be called immoral either; in fact, there are regions 
where it is considered moral to lose one's virginity be- 
fore' marriage. Thus the reproach is really directed 
against disobedience: it is this that is immoral. Is this 


sufficient? Such a girl is considered contemptible — but 
what kind of disobedience is it that one despises? (Im- 
prudence is not despised.) One says of her: she could 
not control herself, that is why she was disobedient 
against the mores; thus it is the blindness of the desire 
that one despises, the animal in the girl. With this in 
mind, one also says: she is unchaste; by this one could 
not mean that she is doing what the lawfully wedded 
wife does, too, without being called unchaste. The 
mores are then seen to demand that one bear the dis- 
pleasure of unsatisfied desire, that the desire be able 
to wait. To be immoral means therefore, in this case, 
not to be able to bear a displeasure despite the thought 
of the power that makes the rules. A feeling is sup- 
posed to be subdued by a thought — more precisely, 
by the thought of fear (whether it be fear of the sacred 
mores or of the punishment and shame threatened by 
the mores). In itself, it is not at all shameful, but 
natural and fair, that a desire be satisfied immediately. 
Therefore what is really contemptible in this girl is the 
weakness of her fear. Being moral means being highly 
accessible to fear. Fear is the power by which the 
community is preserved. 

If one considers, on the other hand, that every 
original community requires a high degree of fearless- 
ness in its members in other respects, then it becomes 
clear that what is to be feared in the case of morality 
must inspire fear in the very highest degree. Therefore 
mores have been introduced everywhere as functions 
of a divine will, hiding under the fearfulness of gods 
and demonic means of punishment — and being im- 
moral would then mean: not fearing the infinitely fear- 

Of anyone who denied the gods one expected any- 
thing: he was automatically the most fearsome human 

NOTES (1880-81) 75 
being, whom no community could suffer because he 
tore out the roots of fear on which the community had 
grown. It was supposed that in such a person desire 
raged unlimited: one considered every human being 
without such fear infinitely evil. . . • 

The more peaceful a community has become, the 
more cowardly the citizens become; the less accus- 
tomed they are to standing pain, the more will worldly 
punishments suffice as deterrents, the faster will reli- 
gious threats become superfluous. ... In highly civi- 
lized peoples, finally, even punishments should become 
highly superfluous deterrents; the mere fear of shame, 
the trembling of vanity, is so continually effective that 
immoral actions are left undone. The refinement of 
morality increases together with the refinement of fear. 
Today the fear of disagreeable feelings in other people 
is almost the strongest of our own disagreeable feelings. 
One would like ever so much to live in such a way as 
to do nothing except what causes others agreeable 
feelings, and even to take pleasure in nothing any more 
that does not also fulfill this condition. (x, 372-75) 


One hardly dares speak any more of the will to 
power: it was different in Athens. (x, 414) 

The reabsorption of semen by the blood is the 
strongest nourishment and, perhaps more than any 
other factor, it prompts the stimulus of power, the un- 
rest of all forces toward the overcoming of resistances, 
the thirst for contradiction and resistance. The feeling 
of power has so far mounted highest in abstinent 
priests and hermits (for example, among the Brah- 
mins), (x, 414/-) 




The Dawn 

editor's note 
Another collection of aphorisms, first published in 1881. 


First principle of civilization. Among crude peoples 
there is a species of customs, the intent of which ap- 
pears to be custom as such: fastidious and at bottom 
useless ordinances (as, for example, on Kamchatka, 
never to scrape the snow off the shoes with a knife, 
never to spear a coal with a knife, never to put any 
iron into a fire — and death to him who transgresses in 
such matters I) which, however, keep in the conscious- 
ness the perpetual nearness of custom, the relentless 
compulsion to live up to custom. To confirm the great 
principle with which civilization begins: any custom is 
better than no custom. 


The first Christian. All the world still believes in the 
authorship of the "Holy Spirit" or is at least still af- 
fected by this belief: when one opens the Bible one 
does so for "edification." . . . That it also tells the 
story of one of the most ambitious and obtrusive of 
souls, of a head as superstitious as it was crafty, the 
story of the apostle Paul — who knows this, except a 
few scholars? Without this strange story, however, 
without the confusions and storms of such a head, such 
a soul, there would be no Christianity; we should 
scarcely have heard of a small Jewish sect whose mas- 

ter died on the cross. Of course, if this story had been 
understood in time; if Paul's writings had been read 
not as revelations of the "Holy Spirit" but with an 
honest and free spirit of one's own, and without at the 
same time thinking of all our personal troubles, if they 
had really been read — and for a millennium and a half 
there were no such readers — then Christianity would 
have been done for long ago: so much do these pages 
of the Jewish Fascal expose the origin of Christianity, 
just as the pages of the French Fascal expose its des- 
tiny and that of which it will perish. 

That the ship of Christianity threw overboard a 
good deal of its Jewish ballast, that it went, and was 
able to go, among the pagans — that was due to this 
one man, a very tortured, very pitiful, very unpleasant 
man, unpleasant even to himself. He suffered from a 
fixed idea — or more precisely, from a fixed, ever-present, 
never resting question: what about the Jewish law? and 
particularly the fulfillment of this law? In his youth he 
had himself wanted to satisfy it, with a ravenous hun- 
ger for this highest distinction which the Jews could 
conceive — this people who were propelled higher than 
any other people by the imagination of the ethically 
sublime, and who alone succeeded in creating a holy 
god together with the idea of sin as a transgression 
against this holiness. Paul became the fanatical de- 
fender of this god and his law and guardian of his 
honor; at the same time, in the struggle against "the 
transgressors and doubters, lying in wait for them, he 
became increasingly harsh and evilly disposed to them, 
and inclined toward the most extreme punishments. 
And now he found that — hot-headed, sensual, melan- 
choly, malignant in his hatred as he was — he was him- 
self unable to fulfill the law; indeed, and this seemed 
strangest to him, his extravagant lust to domineer pro- 


voked him continually to transgress the law, and he 

Lad to yield to this thorn. 

Is it really his "carnal nature" that makes him trans- 
gress again and again? And not rather, as he himself 
suspected later, behind it the law itself, which must 
constantly prove itself unfulfillable and which lures him 
to transgression with irresistible charm? But at that 
time he did not yet have this way out. He had much 
on his conscience — he hints at hostility, murder, magic, 
idolatry, lewdness, drunkenness, and pleasure in disso- 
lute carousing — and . . . moments came when he said 
to himself: "It is all in vain; the torture of the unful- 
filled law cannot be overcome." Luther may have had 
similar feelings when, in his monastery, he wanted to 
become the perfect man of the spiritual ideal: and just 
as Luther one day began to hate the spiritual ideal and 
the Pope and the saints and the whole clerisy with 
a true, deadly hatred — all the more the less he could 
own it to himself — so it was with Paul. The law was 
the cross to which he felt himself nailed: how he hated 
itl how he resented itl how he searched for some means 
to annihilate it — not to fulfill it any more himself! 

And finally the saving thought struck him, together 
with a vision — it could scarcely have happened other- 
wise to this epileptic. . . . Paul heard the words: "Why 
dost thou persecute mef The essential occurrence, 
however, was this: his head had suddenly seen a light: 
"It is unreasonable," he had said to himself, "to perse- 
cute this Jesusl Here after all is the way out; here is 
the perfect revenge; here and nowhere else I have 
and hold the annihilator of the law!". . . Until then 
the ignominious death had seemed to him the chief 
argument against the Messianic claim of which the 
adherents of the new doctrine spoke: but what if 
it were necessary to get rid of the law? 

The tremendous consequences of this idea, of this 
solution of the riddle, spin before his eyes; at one stroke 
he becomes the happiest man; the destiny of the Jews 
— no, of all men — seems to him to be tied to this idea, 
to this second of its sudden illumination; he has the 
thought of thoughts, the key of keys, the light of lights; 
it is around him that all history must revolve hence- 
forth. For he is from now on the teacher of the anni- 
hilation of the law. . . . 

This is the first Christian, the inventor of Christianity. 
Until then there were only a few Jewish sectarians. 


Thinking evil means making evil. The passions be- 
come evil and insidious when they are considered evil 
and insidious. Thus Christianity has succeeded in turn- 
ing Eros and Aphrodite — great powers, capable of 
idealization — into hellish goblins. ... In themselves 
the sexual feelings, like those of pity and adoration, are 
such that one human being thereby gives pleasure to 
another human being through his delight; one does not 
encounter such beneficent arrangements too frequently 
in nature. And to slander just such a one and to corrupt 
it through bad conscience! To associate the procreation 
of man with bad conscience! 

In the end this transformation of Eros into a devil 
wound up as a comedy: gradually the "devil" Eros be- 
came more interesting to men than all the angels and 
saints, thanks to the whispering and the secret-monger- 
ing of the Church in all erotic matters: this has had the 
effect, right into our own time, of making the love story 
the only real interest shared by all circles — in an exag- 
geration which would have been incomprehensible in 
antiquity and which will yet be laughed at some- 
day. . . . 



The philology of Christianity. How little Christianity 
educates the sense of honesty and justice can be seen 
pretty well from the writings of its scholars: they ad- 
vance their conjectures as blandly as dogmas and are 
hardly ever honestly perplexed by the exegesis of a 
Biblical verse. Again and again they say, "I am right, 
for it is written," and the interpretation that follows 
is of such impudent arbitrariness that a philologist is 
stopped in his tracks, torn between anger and laughter, 
and keeps asking himself: Is it possible? Is this honest? 
Is it even decent? 

What dishonesties of this sort are still perpetrated 
from Protestant pulpits today, how crudely the preach- 
ers exploit the advantage that nobody can interrupt 
them, how the Bible is pricked and pulled and the art 
of reading badly formally inculcated upon the people — 
all this will be underestimated only by those who go 
to church either never or always. 

In the end, however, what are we to expect of the 
aftereffects of a religion that enacted during the cen- 
turies of its foundation that unheard-of philological 
farce about the Old Testament? I refer to the attempt 
to pull away the Old Testament from under the feet of 
the Jews — with the claim that it contains nothing but 
Christian doctrines and belongs to the Christians as the 
true Israel, while the Jews had merely usurped it. And 
now the Christians yielded to a rage of interpretation 
and interpolation, which could not possibly have been 
accompanied by a good conscience. However much the 
Jewish scholars protested, everywhere in the Old Testa- 
ment there were supposed to be references to Christ 
and only to Christ, and particularly to his cross. Wher- 
ever any piece of wood, a switch, a ladder, a twig, a tree, 

a willow, or a staff is mentioned, this was supposed to 
indicate a prophecy of the wood of the cross. . . . 
Has anybody who claimed this ever believed it? . . . 


One becomes moral — not because one is moral. Sub- 
mission to morality can be slavish or vain or selfish or 
resigned or obtusely enthusiastic or thoughtless or an 
act of desperation, like submission to a prince: in itself 
it is nothing moral. 


Doubtful. To accept a faith just because it is custom- 
ary, means to be dishonest, to be cowardly, to be lazy. 
And do dishonesty, cowardice, and laziness then appear 
as the presupposition of morality? 


Reason. How did reason come into the world? As is 
fitting, in an irrational manner, by accident. One will 
have to guess at it as at a riddle. 


Perhaps premature. . . . There is no morality that 
alone makes moral, and every ethic that affirms itself 
exclusively kills too much good strength and costs hu- 
manity too dearly. The deviants, who are so frequently 
the inventive and fruitful ones, shall no longer be sacri- 
ficed; it shall not even be considered infamous to 
deviate from morality, in thought and deed; numerous 
new experiments of fife and society shall be made; a 
tremendous burden of bad conscience shall be removed 
from the world — these most general aims should be 
recognized and promoted by all who are honest and 
seek truth. 



The eulogists of work. Behind the glorification of 
"work" and the tireless talk of the "blessings of work" 
I find the same thought as behind the praise of imper- 
sonal activity for the public benefit: the fear of everything 
individual. At bottom, one now feels when confronted 
with work — and what is invariably meant is relentless 
industry from early till late — that such work is the best 
police, that it keeps everybody in harness and power- 
fully obstructs the development of reason, of covetous- 
ness, of the desire for independence. For it uses up a 
tremendous amount of nervous energy and takes it 
away from reflection, brooding, dreaming, worry, love, 
and hatred; it always sets a small goal before one's eyes 
and permits easy and regular satisfactions. In that way 
a society in which the members continually work hard 
will have more security: and security is now adored as 
the supreme goddess. And now — horrors! — it is pre- 
cisely the "worker" who has become dangerous. "Dan- 
gerous individuals are swarming all around. And behind 
them, the danger of dangers: the individual. 


As little state as possible. All political and economic 
arrangements are not worth it, that precisely the most 
gifted spirits should be permitted, or even obliged, to 
manage them: such a waste of spirit is really worse 
than an extremity. These are and remain fields of work 
for the lesser heads, and other than lesser heads should 
not be at the service of this workshop: it were better 
to let the machine go to pieces again. ... At such a 
price, one pays far too dearly for the "general security"; 
and what is most insane, one also produces the very 
opposite of the general security, as our dear century is 

undertaking to prove — as if it had never been proved 
before. To make society secure against thieves and fire- 
proof and infinitely comfortable for every trade and 
activity, and to transform the state into Providence in 
the good and bad sense — these are low, mediocre, and 
not at all indispensable goals, for which one should not 
strive with the highest means and instruments any- 
where in existence, the means one ought to reserve for 
the highest and rarest ends. Our time, however much 
it talks of economy, is a squanderer: it squanders what 
is most precious, the spirit. 


Esprit and morality. The Germans, who know the 
secret of being boring with spirit, knowledge, and feel- 
ing, and who have accustomed themselves to feel bore- 
dom as moral, fear the French esprit lest it prick out the 
eyes of morality — fear and yet are charmed, like the 
little bird before the rattlesnake. Of the famous Ger- 
mans, perhaps none had more esprit than Hegel; but 
for all that, he too feared it with a great German fear, 
which created his peculiar bad style. The essence of this 
style is that a core is wrapped around, and wrapped 
around again and again, until it scarcely peeks out, 
bashful and curious — as "young women look through 
their veils," to quote the old woman-hater, Aeschylus; 
that core, however, is a witty, often pert perception 
about the most spiritual things, a delicate and daring 
connection of words, such as belongs in the company 
of thinkers, as a side dish of science — but in those 
wrappings it presents itself as abstruse science itself, 
and by all means as the most highly moral boredom 
Thus the Germans had their permissible form of esprit, 
and they enjoyed it with such extravagant delight that 
Schopenhauer's good, very good, intelligence froze at 


the mere sight: all his life he stormed against the 
spectacle offered him by the Germans, but never could 
explain it to himself. 


The hostility of the Germans to the Enlightenment. 
Let us reconsider the contribution to culture in general 
made by the Germans of the first half of this century 
with their spiritual labor, and let us first take the Ger- 
man philosophers. They have reverted to the first and 
most ancient stage of speculation, for they have been 
satisfied with concepts instead of explanations, like the 
thinkers of dreamy ages; they revived a prescientific 
kind of philosophy. Second, there are the German his- 
torians and romantics: their general effort was directed 
toward gaining a place of honor for more ancient, 
primitive feelings, and especially Christianity, the folk 
soul, folk sagas, folk language, medievalism, Oriental 
aesthetics, Indianism. Third, there are the natural sci- 
entists: they fought against the spirit of Newton and 
Voltaire and sought, like Goethe and Schopenhauer, to 
restore the idea of a divine or devilish nature and its 
entirely ethical and symbolical significance. 

The whole great tendency of the Germans ran counter 
to the Enlightenment, and to the revolution of society 
which, by a crude misunderstanding, was considered 
its consequence: piety toward everything still in exist- 
ence sought to transform itself into piety toward every- 
thing that has ever existed, only to make heart and 
spirit full once again and to leave no room for future 
goals and innovations. The cult of feeling was erected 
in place of the cult of reason; and the German musi- 
cians, as the artists of the invisible, the enthusiastic, the 
fabulous, and the pining, helped to build the new 
temple with more success than all the artists of words 


and thoughts. Even if we admit that a vast amount of 
good was spoken and investigated in detail and that 
many things are now judged more fairly than ever before, 
we must still say of this development as a whole: it was 
no slight universal danger, under the semblance of full 
and final knowledge of the past, to subordinate knowl- 
edge to feeling altogether and — to speak with Kant, 
who thus determined his own task — "to open the way 
again for faith by showing knowledge its limits." 

Let us breathe free air again: the hour of this danger 
has passed. And strangely, those veiy spirits which 
were so eloquently conjured up by the Germans have 
in the long run become most harmful to the intentions 
of the conjurers. History, the understanding of origin 
and development, sympathy with the past, the renewed 
passion of feeling and knowledge, after they all seemed 
for a time helpful apprentices of this obscurantist, enthu- 
siastic, and atavistic spirit, changed their nature one fine 
day and now soar with the broadest wings past their old 
conjurers and upward, as new and stronger geniuses of 
that very Enlightenment against which they were con- 
jured up. This Enlightenment we must now advance 
further — unconcerned with the fact that there has been 
a "great revolution" against it, and then a "great reac- 
tion" again; indeed that both still exist: all this is mere 
play of the waves compared to that truly great tide in 
which we drift and want to drift. 


Promoting health. We have scarcely begun to reflect 
on the physiology of the criminal, and yet we are al- 
ready confronted with the indisputable realization that 
there is no essential difference between criminals and 
the insane — presupposing that one believes that the 
customary way of moral thinking is the way of thinking 


of spiritual health. No faith, however, is still as firmly 
believed as this, and so we should not shrink from 
drawing its consequences by treating the criminal as 
an insane person: above all, not with haughty mercy 
but with the physician's good sense and good will. A 
change of air, different company, temporary disappear- 
ance, perhaps being alone and having a new occupa- 
tion, are what he needs. Good! Perhaps he himself 
considers it to his advantage to live in custody for a 
while to find protection against himself and a burden- 
some tyrannical urge. Good! One should present him 
quite clearly with the possibility and the means of a 
cure (the extirpation, reshaping, and sublimation of 
that drive); also, in a bad case, with the improbability 
of a cure; and one should offer the incurable criminal, 
who has become a horror to himself, the opportunity 
to commit suicide. Reserving this as the most extreme 
means of relief, one should not neglect anything to give 
back to the criminal, above all, confidence and a free 
mind; one should wipe pangs of conscience from his 
soul as some uncleanliness and give him pointers as to 
how he might balance and outbid the harm he may 
have done to one person by a good turn to another, or 
perhaps to society as a whole. All this with the utmost 
consideration. And above all, anonymity or a new name 
and frequent change of place, so that the irreproach- 
ability of his reputation and his future life be endan- 
gered as little as possible. 

Today, to be sure, he who has been harmed always 
wants his revenge, quite apart from the question of 
how this harm might be undone again, and he turns to 
the courts for its sake; for the present this maintains 
our abominable penal codes, with their shopkeeper's 
scales and the desire to balance guilt and punishment. 
But shouldn't we be able to get beyond this? How 

relieved the general feeling of life would be if, together 
with the belief in guilt, we could also get rid of the 
ancient instinct of revenge, and if we even considered 
it a fine cleverness in a happy person to pronounce a 
blessing over his enemies, with Christianity, and if we 
benefited those who had offended us. Let us remove 
the concept of sin from the world — and let us soon 
send the concept of punishment after it. May these 
banished monsters live somewhere else henceforth, not 
among men, if they insist on living at all and do not 
perish of their own disgust. 

Meanwhile let us consider that the loss which society 
and individuals suffer from the criminal is just like the 
loss they suffer from the sick: the sick spread worry 
and discontent; they do not produce but consume the 
earnings of others; they require wardens, physicians, 
and amusement; and they live on the time and energy 
of the healthy. Nevertheless one would now designate as 
inhuman anyone who for these reasons would want to 
avenge himself against the sick. Formerly, to be sure, 
this was done; in crude stages of civilization, and even 
now among some savage peoples, the sick are, in fact, 
treated as' criminals, as a danger to the community, and 
as the dwelling of some demonic being which has 
entered them in consequence of some guilt: every sick 
person is a guilty person. And we — shouldn't we be 
mature enough for the opposite view? Shouldn't we be 
able to say: every "guilty" person is a sick person? 

No, the hour for that has not yet come. The physi- 
cians are still lacking, above all, for whom what we 
have hitherto called practical morality must be trans- 
formed into a piece of their art and science of therapy; 
as yet, that hungry interest in these things is lacking, 
but some day it may appear in a manner not unlike 
the storm and stress of those old religious agitations; 


as yet, the churches are not in the hands of the pro- 
moters of health; as yet, to teach about the body and 
the diet is not one of the obligations of all lower and 
higher schools; as yet, there are no quiet organizations 
of those who have accepted the common obligation to 
renounce the help of courts and punishment and re- 
venge against their evildoers; as yet, no thinker has 
had the courage to measure the health of a society and 
of individuals by the number of parasites they can 
stand. . . . 


Of the people of Israel. Among the spectacles to 
which the next century invites us is the decision on the 
fate of the European Jews. . . . Every Jew has in the 
history of his fathers and grandfathers a mine of ex- 
amples of the coldest composure and steadfastness in 
terrible situations. . . . 

There has been an effort to make them contemptible 
by treating them contemptibly for two thousand years 
and by barring them from access to all honors and 
everything honorable, thus pushing them that much 
deeper into the dirtier trades; and under this procedure 
they have certainly not become cleaner. But contempt- 
ible? They themselves have never ceased to believe in 
their calling to the highest things, and the virtues of 
all who suffer have never ceased to adom them. The 
way in which they honor their fathers and their chil- 
dren and the rationality of their marriages and marital 
customs distinguish them above all Europeans. In addi- 
tion, they knew how to create for themselves a feeling 
of power and eternal revenge out of those very trades 
which were abandoned to them (or to which they were 
abandoned); one must say, in excuse even of their 

usury, that without this occasional, agreeable, and use- 
ful torture of their despisers they could scarcely have 
persevered so long in respecting themselves. For our 
self-respect depends on our ability to repay the good 
as well as the bad. Moreover, their revenge, does not 
easily push them too far; for they all have that free- 
mindedness, of the soul too, to which frequent change 
of location, of climate, and of the customs of neighbors 
and oppressors educates man. . . . 

And where shall this wealth of accumulated great 
impressions, which Jewish history constitutes for every 
Jewish family, this wealth of passions, virtues, deci- 
sions, renunciations, fights, and victories of all kinds — 
where shall it flow, if not eventually into great spiritual 
men and works? Then, when the Jews can point to 
such gems and golden vessels as their work, such as 
the European peoples with their shorter and less deep 
experience cannot produce and never could; when Is- 
rael will have transformed its eternal revenge into an 
eternal blessing for Europe; then that seventh day will 
come once again on which the ancient Jewish god may 
rejoice in himself, his creation, and his chosen people — 
and all of us, all of us want to rejoice with himl 


The impossible class. Poor, gay, and independent — 
that is possible together. Poor, gay, and a slave — that 
is possible too. And I would not know what better to 
say to the workers in factory slavery — provided they 
do not consider it altogether shameful to be used up as 
they are, like the gears of a machine, and in a sense 
as stopgaps of human inventiveness. 

Phewl to believe that higher pay could abolish the 
essence of their misery — I mean their impersonal serf- 


dom! Phewl to be talked into thinking that an increase 
in this impersonality, within the machinelike workings 
of a new society, could transform the shame of slavery 
into a virtue! Phew! to have a price for which one 
remains a person no longer but becomes a gear! 

Are you co-conspirators in the current folly of na- 
tions, who want above all to produce as much as pos- 
sible and to be as rich as possible? It would be your 
affair to present them with the counter-calculation: 
what vast sums of inner worth are thrown away for 
such an external goal. But where is your inner worth 
when you no longer know what it means to breathe 
freely? when you no longer have the slightest control 
over yourselves? when you all too frequently become 
sick of yourselves, as of a stale drink? when you listen 
to the newspapers and leer at your rich neighbor, made 
lustful by the rapid rise and fall of power, money, and 
opinions? when you no longer have any faith in philos- 
ophy, which wears rags, and in the candor of those 
who have no wants? when the voluntary idyllic life of 
poverty, without occupation or marriage, which might 
well suit the more spiritual among you, has become a 
laughingstock to you? Do your ears ring from the pipes 
of the socialistic pied pipers, who want to make you 
wanton with mad hopes? who bid you be prepared and 
nothing else, prepared from today to tomorrow so that 
you wait and wait for something from the outside, and 
live in every other respect as you have lived before — 
until this waiting turns into hunger and thirst and 
fever and madness, and finally the day of the bestia 
triumphans rises in all its glory? 

Against all this, everyone should think in his heart: 
Sooner emigrate and in savage fresh regions seek to 
become master of the world, and above all master of 
myself; keep changing location as long as a single sign 

of slavery still beckons to me; not avoid adventure and 
war and be prepared for death if the worst accidents 
befall — but no more of this indecent serfdom, no more 
of this becoming sour and poisonous and conspiratoriall 
This would be the right state of mind: the workers 
in Europe should declare that henceforth as a class they 
are a human impossibility, and not only, as is custom- 
ary, a harsh and purposeless establishment. They should 
introduce an era of a vast swarming out from the Euro- 
pean beehive, the like of which has never been expe- 
rienced, and with this act of emigration in the grand 
manner protest against the machine, against capital, 
and against the choice with which they are now threat- 
ened, of becoming of necessity either slaves of the state 
or slaves of a revolutionary party. Let Europe relieve 
itself of the fourth part of its inhabitants! . . . What 
at home began to degenerate into dangerous discontent 
and criminal tendencies will, once outside, gain a wild 
and beautiful naturalness and be called heroism. . . . 


Corruption. The surest way to corrupt a youth is to 
instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think 
alike than those who think differently. 


The good four. Honest with ourselves and with what- 
ever is friend to us; courageous toward the enemy; 
generous toward the vanquished; polite — always: that 
is how the four cardinal virtues want us. 


Against an enemy. How good bad music and bad 
reasons sound when one marches against an enemy! 




Shedding one's skin. The snake that cannot shed its 
skin perishes. So do the spirits who are prevented from 
changing their opinons; they cease to be spirit 

Postcard to Overbeck 

(Sils Maria, July 30, 1881) 
I am utterly amazed, utterly enchanted. I have a 
precursor, and what a precursor! I hardly knew Spi- 
noza: that I should have turned to him just now, was 
inspired by "instinct." Not only is his over-all tendency 
like mine — making knowledge. the most powerful affect 
— but in five main points of his doctrine I recognize 
myself; this most unusual and loneliest thinker is closest 
to me precisely in these matters: he denies the free- 
dom of the will, teleology, the moral world order, the 
unegoistic, and evil. Even though the divergencies are 
admittedly tremendous, they are due more to the dif- 
ference in time, culture, and science. In summa: my 
lonesomeness, which, as on very high mountains, often 
made it hard for me to breathe and made my blood 
rush out, is now at least a twosomeness. Strange. 

Incidentally, I am not at all as well as I had hoped. 
Exceptional weather here too. Eternal change of at- 
mospheric conditions — that will yet drive me out of 
Europe. I must have clear skies for months, else I get 
nowhere. Already six severe attacks of two or three 
days each. With affectionate love, your friend. 




The Gay Science 

editor's note 

Nietzsche's last really aphoristic work, first published in 
1882. The title in the English collected edition, ]oyful 
Wisdom, is a mistranslation. Aphorisms 285 and 341 are 
among the first statements of the "eternal recurrence." 


What preserves the species. The strongest and most 
evil spirits have so far advanced humanity the most: 
they have always rekindled the drowsing passions — all 
ordered society puts the passions to sleep; they have 
always reawakened the sense of comparison, of contra- 
diction, of joy in the new, the daring, and the untried; 
they force men to meet opinion with opinion, model with 
model. For the most part by arms, by the overthrow of 
boundary stones, and by offense to the pieties, but also 
by new religions and moralities. The same "malice" is 
to be found in every teacher and preacher of the 
new. . . . The new is always the evil, as that which 
wants to conquer, to overthrow the old boundary stones 
and the old pieties; and only the old is the good. The 
good men of every age are those who dig the old ideas 
deep down and bear fruit with them, the husbandmen 
of the spirit. But all land is finally exhausted, and the 
plow of evil must always return. 

There is a fundamentally erroneous doctrine in con- 
temporary morality, celebrated particularly in England: 


according to this, the judgments "good" and "evil" are 
condensations of the experiences concerning "expe- 
dient" and "inexpedient"; what is called good preserves 
the species, while what is called evil is harmful to the 
species. In truth, however, the evil urges are expedient 
and indispensable and preserve the species to as high a 
degree as the good ones — only their function is different. 


Something for the industrious. ... So far, every- 
thing that has given color to existence still lacks a his- 
tory: or, where could one find a history of love, of 
avarice, of envy, of conscience, of piety, or of cruelty? 
Even a comparative history of law, or merely of punish- 
ment, is completely lacking so far. Has anyone yet 
conducted research into the different ways of dividing 
the day and the consequences of a regular arrangement 
of work, holiday, and rest? Does one know the moral 
effects of food? Is there a philosophy of nourishment? 
(The ever-renewed clamor for and against vegetarian- 
ism is sufficient proof that there is no such philosophy 
as yet.) Have the experiences of living together been 
assembled; for example, the experiences in the monas- 
teries? Has the dialectic of marriage and friendship 
been presented as yet? . . . 


Historia abscondita. Every great human being has a 
retroactive force: all history is again placed in the 
scales for his sake, and a thousand secrets of the past 
crawl out of their hideouts — into his sun. There is no 
way of telling what may yet become history some day. 
Perhaps the past is still essentially undiscovered! So 
many retroactive forces are still required! 




The Madman. Have you not heard of that madman 
who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to 
the market place, and cried incessantly, "I seek Godl 
I seek Godl" As many of those who do not believe in 
God were standing around just then, he provoked much 
laughter. Why, did he get lost? said one. Did he lose 
his way like a child? said another. Or is he hiding? Is 
he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? or emigrated? 
Thus they yelled and laughed. The madman jumped 
into their midst and pierced them with his glances. 

"Whither is God" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have 
killed him — you and I. All of us are his murderers. 
But how have we done this? How were we able to 
drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe 
away the entire horizon? What did we do when we 
unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving 
now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all 
suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, side- 
ward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or 
down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite 
nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? 
Has it not become colder? Is not night and more night 
coming on all the while? Must not lanterns be lit in the 
morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise 
of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not 
smell anything yet of God's decomposition? Gods too 
decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we 
have killed him. How shall we, the murderers of all 
murderers, comfort ourselves? What was holiest and 
most powerful of all that the world has yet owned has 
bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this 
blood off us? What water is there for us to clean 


ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred 
games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of 
this deed too great for us? Must not we ourselves 
become gods simply to seem worthy of it? There has 
never been a greater deed; and whoever will be bom 
after us — for the sake of this deed he will be part of 
a higher history than all history hitherto." 

Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his 
listeners; and they too were silent and stared at him in 
astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the 
ground, and it broke and went out. "I come too early," 
he said then; "my time has not come yet. This tre- 
mendous event is still on its way, still wandering — it 
has not yet reached the ears of man. Lightning and 
thunder require time, the light of the stars requires 
time, deeds require time even after they are done, 
before they can be seen and heard. This deed is still 
more distant from them than the most distant stars — 
and yet they have done it themselves." 

It has been related further that on that same day the 
madman entered divers churches and there sang his 
requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, 
he is said to have replied each time, "What are these 
churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers 
of God?" 


Kant's joke. Kant wanted to prove in a way that 
would dumfound the common man that the common 
man was right: that was the secret joke of this soul. 
He wrote against the scholars in favor of the popular 
prejudice, but for scholars and not popularly. 


Guilt. Although the most acute judges of the witches, 
and even the witches themselves, were convinced of 

the guilt of witcheiy, the guilt nevertheless was non- 
existent. It is thus with all guilt. 


Preparatory men. I welcome all signs that a more 
manly, a warlike, age is about to begin, an age which, 
above all, will give honor to valor once again. For this 
age shall prepare the way for one yet higher, and it 
shall gather the strength which this higher age will 
need one day — this age which is to carry heroism into 
the pursuit of knowledge and wage wars for the sake 
of thoughts and their consequences. To this end we 
now need many preparatory valorous men who cannot 
leap into being out of nothing — any more than out of the 
sand and slime of our present civilization and metro- 
politanism: men who are bent on seeking for that 
aspect in all things which must be overcome; men char- 
acterized by cheerfulness, patience, unpretentiousness, 
and contempt for all great vanities, as well as by mag- 
nanimity in victory and forbearance regarding the small 
vanities of the vanquished; men possessed of keen and 
free judgment concerning all victors and the share of 
chance in every victory and every fame; men who 
have their own festivals, their own weekdays, their 
own periods of mourning, who are accustomed to com- 
mand with assurance and are no less ready to obey 
when necessary, in both cases equally proud and serv- 
ing their own cause; men who are in greater danger, 
more fruitful, and happier! For, believe me, the secret 
of the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment 
of existence is: to live dangerously! Build your cities 
under Vesuviusl Send your ships into uncharted seasl 
Live at war with your peers and yourselvesl Be robbers 
and conquerors, as long as you cannot be rulers and 
owners, you lovers of knowledge! Soon the age will be 


past when you could be satisfied to live like shy deer, 
hidden in the woods! At long last the pursuit of knowl- 
edge will reach out for its due: it will want to rule and 
own, and you with itl 


Excehiorl "You will never pray again, never adore 
again, never again rest in endless trust; you deny your- 
self any stopping before ultimate wisdom, ultimate 
goodness, ultimate power, while unharnessing your 
thoughts; you have no perpetual guardian and friend 
for your seven solitudes; you live without a view of 
mountains with snow on their peaks and fire in their 
hearts; there is no avenger for you, no eventual im- 
prover; there is no reason any more in what happens, 
no love in what will happen to you; no resting place 
is any longer open to your heart, where it has only to 
find and no longer to seek; you resist any ultimate 
peace, you want the eternal recurrence of war and 
peace. Man of renunciation, do you want to renounce 
all this? Who will give you the necessary strength? 
Nobody yet has had this strength." There is a lake 
which one day refused to flow off and erected a dam 
where it had hitherto flowed off: ever since, this lake 
has been rising higher and higher. Perhaps that very 
renunciation will also lend us the strength to bear the 
renunciation itself; perhaps man will rise ever higher 
when he once ceases to flow out into a god. 


One thing is needful. "Giving style" to one's charac- 
ter — a great and rare artl It is exercised by those who 
see all the strengths and weaknesses of their own na- 
tures and then comprehend them in an artistic plan 

until everything appears as art and reason and even 
weakness delights the eye. Here a large mass of second 
nature has been added; there a piece of original nature 
has been removed: both by long practice and daily la- 
bor. Here the ugly which could not be removed is 
hidden; there it has been reinterpreted and made sub- 
lime. ... It will be the strong and domineering na- 
tures who enjoy their finest gaiety in such compulsion, 
in such constraint and perfection under a law of their 
own; the passion of their tremendous will relents when 
confronted with stylized, conquered, and serving na- 
ture; even when they have to build palaces and lay 
out gardens, they demur at giving nature a free hand. 
Conversely, it is the weak characters without power 
over themselves who hate the constraint of style. . 
They become slaves as soon as they serve; they hate to 
serve. Such spirits — and they may be of the first rank 
— are always out to interpret themselves and their en- 
vironment as free nature — wild, arbitrary, fantastic, 
disorderly, astonishing; and they do well because only 
in this way do they please themselves. For one thing 
is needful: that a human being attain his satisfaction 
with himself — whether it be by this or by that poetry 
and art; only then is a human being at all tolerable to 
behold. Whoever is dissatisfied with himself is always 
ready to revenge himself therefor; we others will be his 
victims, if only by always having to stand his ugly 
sight. For the sight of the ugly makes men bad and 


Will and wave. How greedily this wave approaches, 
as if there were some objective to be reached! How, 
with awe-inspiring haste, it crawls into the inmost 


nooks of the rocky cliffl It seems that it wants to antici- 
pate somebody; it seems that something is hidden 
there, something of value, high value. 

And now it comes back, a little more slowly, still 
quite white with excitement — is it disappointed? But 
already another wave is approaching, still greedier and 
wilder than the first, and its soul too seems to be full of 
secrets and the lust to dig up treasures. Thus live the 
waves — thus live we who will — more I shall not say. 

So? You mistrust me? You are angry with me, you 
beautiful monsters? Are you afraid that I might betray 
your secret entirely? Well, then be angry with me! 
Raise your dangerous green bodies as high as you canl 
Make a wall between me and the sun — as you do nowl 
Verily, even now nothing is left of the world but green 
dusk and green lightning flashes. Cany on as you please, 
you pranksters; roar with delight and malice — or dive 
again, pouring your emeralds into the deepest depths, 
and cast your endless white manes of foam and spray 
over them — everything suits me, for everything suits 
you so well, and I am so well disposed toward you for 
everything: how could I think of betraying you! For — 
heed it well! — I know you and your secret, I know 
your kind! You and I — are we not of one kind? You 
and I — do we not have one secret? 


As interpreters of our experiences. A kind of honesty 
has been alien to all founders of religions and others 
like them: they have never made their experiences a 
matter of conscience for knowledge. "What did I really 
experience? What happened in me then, and around 
me? Was my reason bright enough? Was my will 
turned against all deceptions of the senses and was it 
courageous in its resistance to the fantastic?" — none of 

them has raised such questions; all the dear religious 
people still do not raise such questions even now: 
rather, they have a thirst for things that are against 
reason, and they do not want to make it too hard for 
themselves to satisfy it. And so they experience "mira- 
cles" and "rebirths" and hear the voices of the little 
angels! We, however, we others, who thirst for reason, 
want to look our experiences as straight in the eye as 
if they represented a scientific experiment, hour after 
hour, day after day. We ourselves want to be our ex- 
periments and guinea pigs. 


The dying Socrates. I admire the courage and wis- 
dom of Socrates in everything he did, said — and did 
not say. This mocking and enamored monster and pied 
piper of Athens, who made the most arrogant youths 
tremble and sob, was not only the wisest talker who 
ever lived: he was just as great in his silence. . . . 


The greatest stress. How, if some day or night a 
demon were to sneak after you into your loneliest 
loneliness and say to you, "This life as you now live it 
and have lived it, you will have to live once more and 
innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new 
in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought 
and sigh and everything immeasurably small or great 
in your life must return to you — all in the same succes- 
sion and sequence — even this spider and this moon- 
light between the trees, and even this moment and I 
myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned 
over and over, and you with it, a dust grain of dust." 
Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your 
teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or did you 


once experience a tremendous moment when you 
would have answered him, "You are a god, and never 
have I heard anything more godly." If this thought 
were to gain possession of you, it would change you, as 
you are, or perhaps crush you. The question in each 
and every thing, "Do you want this once more and 
innumerable times more?" would weigh upon your 
actions as the greatest stress. Or how well disposed 
would you have to become to yourself and to life to 
crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal 
confirmation and seal? 

Draft of a Letter to Paul Ree 


. . . She told me herself that she had no morality — 
and I thought she had, like myself, a more severe 
morality than anybody. . . . 



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Editor's Preface 

Zarathustra is by far Nietzsche's most popular book, but 
Nietzsche himself never witnessed its success. The first 
three parts, each composed in about ten days, were at first 
published separately, and scarcely sold at all. Of Part Four, 
Nietzsche had only a few copies printed privately; and the 
first public edition was held up at the last moment in 1891 
when his family feared that it would be confiscated on a 
charge of blasphemy. By then Nietzsche was insane and 
unaware of what was happening. Part Four appeared in 
1892, and it was not confiscated. The first edition of the 
whole work followed not long after. 

Zarathustra is as different from its reputation as its author 
is different from the widely reproduced busts and pictures 
commissioned by his sister. Her grandiose conception of 
the heroic strikes us as childish and has provoked the reac- 
tion, understandably enough, that Nietzsche was really a 
mere petit rentier. But perhaps there are more kinds of 
valor than are dreamed of by most of Nietzsche's admirers 
and detractors. And the most important single clue to 
Zarathustra is that it is the work of an utterly lonely man. 

He is shy, about five-foot-eight, but a little stooped, al- 
most blind, reserved, unaffected, and especially polite; he 
lives in modest boarding houses in Sils Maria, Nizza, Men- 
tone, Rome, Turin. This is how Stefan Zweig brings him to 



life for us: "Carefully the myopic man sits down to a table; 
carefully, the man with the sensitive stomach considers 
every item on the menu: whether the tea is not too strong, 
the food not spiced too much, for every mistake in his diet 
upsets his sensitive digestion, and every transgression in his 
nourishment wreaks havoc with his quivering nerves for 
days. No glass , of wine, no glass of beer, no alcohol, no 
coffee at his place, no cigar and no cigarette after his meal, 
nothing that stimulates, refreshes, or rests him: only the 
short meager meal and a little urbane, unprofound con- 
versation in a soft voice with an occasional neighbor (as a 
man speaks who for years has been unused to talking and 
is afraid of being asked too much). 

"And up again into the small, narrow, modest, coldly 
furnished chambre garnie, where innumerable notes, pages, 
writings, and proofs are piled up on the table, but no 
flower, no decoration, scarcely a book and rarely a letter. 
Back in a corner, a heavy and graceless wooden trunk, his 
only possession, with the two shirts and the other worn 
suit. Otherwise only books and manuscripts, and on a tray 
innumerable bottles and jars and potions: against the 
migraines, which often render him all but senseless for 
hours, against his stomach cramps, against spasmodic vom- 
iting, against the slothful intestines, and above all the 
dreadful sedatives against his insomnia, chloral hydrate 
and Veronal. A frightful arsenal of poisons and drugs, yet 
the only helpers in the empty silence of this strange room 
in which he never rests except in brief and artificially con- 
quered sleep. Wrapped in his overcoat and a woolen scarf 
(for the wretched stove smokes only and does not give 
warmth), his fingers freezing, his double glasses pressed 
close to the paper, his hurried hand writes for hours — 
words the dim eyes can hardly decipher. For hours he sits 
like this and writes until his eyes bum." 

That is the framework, which changes little wherever he 
is. But his letters seem to reveal another dimension, for at 
times they are shrill and strange and remind us of his 
vitriolic remark about Jesus: it is regrettable that no Dos- 
toevski lived near him. Who else could do justice to this 

weird, paradoxical personality? Yet the clue to these letters, 
as also to Zarathustra and some of the last books, is that 
they are the work of a thoroughly lonely man. Sometimes 
they are really less letters than fantastic fragments out of 
the soul's dialogue with itself. Now pleasant and polite, 
now such that arrogance is far too mild a word — and yet 
his feeling of his own importance, painfully pronounced 
even in some very early letters, was of course not as insane 
as it must have appeared at times to those to whom he 
wrote. Resigned that those surrounding him had no idea 
who he was, and invariably kind to his social and intel- 
lectual inferiors, he sometimes felt doubly hurt that those 
who ought to have understood him really had less respect 
for him than his most casual acquaintances. Book after 
book — and either no response, or some kind words, which 
were far more unkind than any serious criticism, or even 
good advice, or pity, worst of all. Is it surprising that on 
rare occasions, when he was sufficiently provoked, we find 
appeals to his old-fashioned sense of honor, even his brief 
military service, and at one point the idea that he must 
challenge a man to a duel with pistols? For that matter, he 
once wrote a close friend: "The barrel of a pistol is for me 
at the moment a source of relatively agreeable thoughts." 

Then there are his several hasty proposals of marriage, 
apparently followed by a real sense of relief when the sug- 
gestion was refused politely. The proposals may seem quite 
fantastic, the more so because, except in the case of Lou 
Salome, no really deep feelings were involved. But a few 
times he was desperate enough to grasp at any possibility 
at all of rescue from the sea of his solitude. 

In his letters these dramatic outbursts are relatively ex- 
ceptional. But the histrionics of Zarathustra should be seerr 
in the same light. For impulses that others vent upon their 
wives or friends, or at a party, perhaps over drinks, Nietz- 
sche had no other outlet. In Nizza, where he wrote Part 
Three of Zarathustra, he met a young man, Dr. Paneth, 
who had read the published portion and was eager to talk 
with the author. On December 26, 1883, Paneth wrote 
home: "There is not a trace of false pathos or the prophet's 


pose in him, as I had rather feared after his last work. In- 
stead his manner is completely inoffensive and natural. We 
began a very banal conversation about the climate, living 
accommodations, and the like. Then he told me, but with- 
out the least affectation or conceit, that he always felt him- 
self to have a task and that now, as far as his eyes would 
permit it, he wanted to get out of himself and work up 
whatever might be in him." 

We might wish that he had taken out his histrionics on 
Paneth and spared us some of the melodrama in Zara- 
thustra. In places, of course, the writing is superb and only 
a pedant could prefer a drabber style. But often painfully 
adolescent emotions distract our attention from ideas that 
we cannot dismiss as immature at all. For that matter, 
adolescence is not simply immaturity; it also marks a 
breakdown of communication, a failure in human relations, 
and generally the first deep taste of solitude. And what we 
find again and again in Zarathustra are the typical emo- 
tions with which a boy tries to compensate himself. 

Nietzsche's apparent blindness to these faults and his 
extravagant praise of the book in some of his last works are 
understandable. His condition had become even more un- 
bearable as time went on; and we should also keep in 
mind not only the complete failure of the book to elicit any 
adequate response or understanding, but also the frantic 
sense of inspiration which had marked the rapid writing of 
the first three parts. Moreover, others find far lesser ob- 
stacles sufficient excuse for creating nothing. Nietzsche had 
every reason for not writing anything — the doctors, for ex- 
ample, told him not to use his eyes for any length of time, 
and he often wrote for ten hours at a time — and fashioned 
work on work, making' his suffering and his torments the 
occasion for new insights. 

After all has been said, Zarathustra still cries out to be 
blue-penciled; and if it were more compact, it would be 
more lucid too. Even so, there are few works to match its 
wealth of ideas, the abundance of profound suggestions, 
the epigrams, the wit. What distinguishes Zarathustra is 
the profusion of "sapphires in the mud." But what the 


book loses artistically and philosophically by never having 
been critically edited by its author, it gains as a uniquely 
personal record. 

In a passage that is quoted again as the motto of Part 
Three, Zarathustra asks: "Who among you can laugh and 
be elevated at the same time?" The fusion of seriousness 
and satire, pathos and pun, is as characteristic of the mes- 
sage as it is of the style of the book. This modern blend of 
the sublime and the ridiculous places the work somewhere 
between the Second Part of Faust and Joyce's Ulysses — 
both of which, after all, might also have profited from 
further editing — and it helps to account for Nietzsche's 
admiration for Heine. 

This overflowing sense of humor, which prefers even a 
poor joke to no joke at all, runs counter to the popular 
images of Nietzsche — not only to the grim creation of his 
sister, but also to the piteous portrait of Stefan Zweig, who 
was, in this respect, still too much under the influence of 
Bertram's Nietzsche: Attempt at a Mythology. Nietzsche 
had the sense of humor which Stefan George and his min- 
ions, very much including Bertram, lacked; and if Zara- 
thustra occasionally excels George's austere prophetic 
affectation, he soon laughs at his own failings and punctures 
his pathos, like Heine, whom George hated. The puncture, 
however, does not give the impression of diffident self-con- 
sciousness and a morbid fear of self-betrayal, but rather 
of that Dionysian exuberance which Zarathustra celebrates. 

Nietzsche's fate in the English-speaking world has been 
rather unkind, in spite of, or perhaps even in some measure 
because of, the ebullient enthusiasm of some of the early 
English and American Nietzscheans. He has rarely been 
accorded that perceptive understanding which is relatively 
common among the French. And when we look back today, 
one of the main reasons must be sought in the inadequacies 
of some of the early translations, particularly of Zarathus- 
tra. For one thing, they completely misrepresent the mood 
of the original — beginning, but unfortunately not ending, 
with their many unjustified archaisms, their "thou" and 
"ye" with the clumsy attendant verb forms, and their 


whole misguided effort to approximate the King James 
Bible. As if Zarathustra's attacks on the spirit of gravity 
and his praise of "light feet" were not among the leitmotifs 
of the bookl In fact, this alone makes the work bearable. 

To be sure, Zarathustra abounds in allusions to the 
Bible, most of them highly irreverent, but just these have 
been missed for the most part by Thomas Common. His 
version, nevertheless, was considered a sufficient improve- 
ment over Alexander Tille's earlier attempt to merit in- 
clusion in the "Authorized English Translation of the Com- 
plete Works"; and while some of Common's other efforts 
were supplanted by slightly better translations, his Zara- 
thustra survived, faute de mieux. For that matter, the book 
comes close to being untranslatable. 

What is one to do with Nietzsche's constant plays on 
words? Say, in der rechten Wissen-Gewissenschaft gibt es 
nichts grosses und nichts kleines. This can probably be 
salvaged only for the eye, not for the ear, with "the con- 
science of science." But then almost anything would be 
better than Common's "true knowing-knowledge." Such 
passages, and there are many, make us wonder whether he 
had little German and less English. More often than not, 
he either overlooks a play on words or misunderstands it, 
and in both cases makes nonsense of Nietzsche. What is 
the point, to give a final example, of Nietzsche's derision 
of German writing, once "plain language" is substituted 
for "German"? One can sympathize with the translator, 
but one cannot understand or discuss Nietzsche on the basis 
of the versions hitherto available. 

The problems encountered in translating Zarathustra are 
tremendous. Where Nietzsche does not deliberately bypass 
idioms in favor of coinages, he makes fun of them — now 
by taking them literally, then again by varying them 
slightly. Here too he is a dedicated enemy of all conven- 
tion, intent on exposing the stupidity and arbitrariness of 
custom. This linguistic iconoclasm greatly impressed Chris- 
tian Morgenstern and helped to inspire his celebrated 
Galgenlieder, in which similar aims are pursued more sys- 


Nietzsche, like Morgenstern a generation later, even 
creates a new animal when he speaks of Pdbel-Schwind- 
hunde. Windhund means greyhound but, more to the point, 
is often used to designate a person without brains or char- 
acter. Yet "Wind, the wind, is celebrated in this passage, 
and so the first part of the animal's name had to be varied 
to underline the opprobrium. What kind of animal should 
the translator create? A weathercock is the same sort of 
person as a Windhund (he turns with the wind) and per- 
mits the coinage of blether-cock. Hardly a major triumph, 
but few works of world literature can rival Zarathustra in 
its abundance of coinages, some of them clearly prompted 
by the feeling that the worst coinage is still better than the 
best cliche. And this lightheartedness is an essential aspect 
of Nietzsche. 

Many of Nietzsche's plays on words are, of course, ex- 
tremely suggestive. To give one example among scores, 
there is his play on Eheschliessen, Ehebrechen, Ehe-biegen, 
Ehe-liigen, in section 24 of "Old and New Tablets." Here 
the old translations did not even try, and it is surely scant 
compensation when Common gratuitously introduces, else- 
where in the book, "sumpter asses and assesses" or coins 
"baddest" in a passage in which Nietzsche says "most evil." 
In fact, Nietzsche devoted one-third of his Genealogy of 
Morals to his distinction between "bad" and "evil." 

The poems in Zarathustra present a weird blend of pas- 
sion and whimsy, but the difference between "Oh, every- 
thing human is strange" and "O human hubbub, thou 
wonderful thing!" in the hitherto standard translation is 
still considerable. Or consider the fate of two perfectly 
straightforward lines at the end of "The Song of Melan- 
choly": "That I should banned be/From all the truenessl" 
And two chapters later Common gives us these lines: 

How it, to a dance-girl, like, 

Doth bow and bend and on its haunches bob, 

— One doth it too, when one view'th it long! — 

In fact, Common still doth it in the next chapter: "How it 


bobbeth, the blessed one, the home-returning one, in its 
purple saddles!" 

It may be ungracious, though hardly un-Nietzschean, to 
ridicule such faults. But in the English-speaking world, 
Zarathustra has been read, written about, and discussed 
for decades on the basis of such travesties, and most criti- 
cisms of the style have no relevance whatever to the 
original. A few thrusts at those who exposed Nietzsche to 
so many thrusts may therefore be defensible — in defense of 

For that matter, the new translation here offered cer- 
tainly does not do justice to him either. Probably no trans- 
lation could; and perhaps- the faults of his predecessors are 
really a comfort to the translator who can ask to have his 
work compared with theirs as well as with the original. 
Or is the spirit of Zarathustra with its celebration of laugh- 
ter contagious? After all, most of the plays on words have 
no ulterior motive whatever. Must we have a justification 
for laughing? 

Much of what is most untranslatable is an expression of 
that Vbermut which Nietzsche associates with the Vber- 
mensch: a lightness of mind, a prankish exuberance — 
though the term can also designate that overbearing which 
the Greeks called hybris. In any case, such plays on words 
must be kept in translation: how else is the reader to know 
which remarks are inspired primarily by the possibility of 
a pun or a daring rhyme? And robbed of its rapidly shifting 
style, clothed in archaic solemnity, Zarathustra would be- 
come a different work — like Faulkner done into the King's 
English. Nietzsche's writing, too, is occasionally downright 
bad, but at its best — superb. * 

The often elusive ideas of the book cannot be explained 
briefly, apart from the text. The editor's notes, however, 
which introduce each of the four parts, may facilitate a 
preliminary orientation, aid the reader in finding passages 
for which he may be looking, and provide a miniature com- 

Only one of Zarathustra's notions shall be mentioned 
here: the eternal recurrence of the same events. In the 


plot this thought becomes more and more central as the 
work progresses, yet it is not an afterthought. Nietzsche 
himself, in Ecce Homo, called it "the basic conception of 
the work" which had struck him in August 1881; and, as a 
matter of fact, he first formulated it in The Gay Science, 
the book immediately preceding Zarathustra. As long as 
Nietzsche was misunderstood as a Darwinist who expected 
the improvement of the human race in the course of evolu- 
tion, this conception was considered a stumbling block, and 
Nietzsche was gratuitously charged with gross self-contra- 
diction. But Nietzsche himself rejected the evolutionary 
misinterpretation as the fabrication of "scholarly oxen." 
And while he was mistaken in believing that the eternal 
recurrence must be accepted as an ineluctable implication 
of impartial science, its personal meaning for him is ex- 
pressed very well in Ecce Homo, in the sentence already 
cited, where he calls it the "highest formula of affirmation 
which is at all attainable." The eternal recurrence of his 
solitude and despair and of all the agonies of his tormented 
body! And yet it was not his own recurrence that he found 
hardest to accept, but that of the small man too. For the 
existence of paltriness and pettiness seemed meaningless 
even after he had succeeded in giving meaning to his own 
inherently meaningless suffering. Were not his work and 
his love of his work and his joy in it inseparable from his 
tortures? And man is capable of standing superhuman suf- 
fering if only he feels sure that there is some point and 
purpose to it, while much less pain will seem intolerable if 
devoid of meaning. 

Zarathustra is not only a mine of ideas but also a major 
work of literature and a personal triumph. 




Zarathustrds Pr.ologue 121 
Zarathustra's Speeches 

1 On the Three Metamorphoses 137 

2 On the Teachers of Virtue 140 

3 On the Afterworldly 142 

4 On the Despisers of the Body 146 

5 On Enjoying and Suffering the Passions 148 

6 On the Pale Criminal 149 

7 On Reading and Writing 152 

8 On the Tree on the Mountainside 154 

9 On the Preachers of Death 156 

10 On War and Warriors 158 

11 On the New Idol 160 

12 On the Flies of the Market Place 163 

13 On Chastity 166 

14 On the Friend 167 

15 On the Thousand and One Coals 170 

16 On Love of the Neighbor 172 

17 On the Way of the Creator 174 

18 On Little Old and Young Women 177 

19 On the Adder's Bite 179 

20 On Child and Marriage 181 

21 On Free Death 183 

22 On the Gift-Giving Virtue 186 


1 The Child with the Mirror 195 

2 Upon the Blessed Isles 197 

3 On the Pitying 200 

4 On Priests 202 

5 On the Virtuous 205 

6 On the Rabble 208 


7 On the Tarantulas 211 

8 On the Famous Wise Men 214 

9 The Night Song 217 

10 The Dancing Song 219 

11 The Tomb Song 222 

12 On Self-Overcoming 225 

13 On Those Who Are Sublime 228 

14 On the Land of Education 231 

15 On Immaculate Perception 233 

16 On Scholars 236 

17 On Poets 238 

18 On Great Events 241 

19 The Soothsayer 245 

20 On Redemption 249 

21 On Human Prudence 254 

22 The Stillest Hour 257 


1 The Wanderer 264 

2 On the Vision and the Riddle 267 

3 On Involuntary Bliss 272 

4 Before Sunrise 276 

5 On Virtue That Makes Small 279 

6 Upon the Mount of Olives 284 

7 On Passing By 287 

8 On Apostates 290 

9 The Return Home 295 

10 On the Three Evils 298 

11 On the Spirit of Gravity 303 

12 On Old and New Tablets 308 

13 The Convalescent 327 

14 On the Great Longing 333 

15 The Other Dancing Song 336 

16 The Seven Seals (Or: The Yes and 

Amen song) 340 


1 The Honey Sacrifice 349 

2 The Cry of Distress 35a 



Conversation with the Kings 



lne i-ieecn 



The Magician 






The Ugliest Man 



lne Voluntary Ueggar 



lne onaaow 



At Noon 



1 ne welcome 



lne J_.ast oupper 



On the Higher Man 



lne oong or Melancholy 



On Science 



A mAnrt Tilt 1 jtI iI-^t-c i*\t" f- h WilnArnAP c 

Among uaugwers or ine wiiuerness 



The Awakening 



lne Ass restival 



TVip "Drnnlfpri Snncr 

* 11C LSI Ullfvwfi kjyjlllL 


The Sign 


Thus Spoke Zarathustra: First Part 

editor's note 

Prologue: Zarathustra speaks of the death of God and pro- 
claims the overman. Faith in God is dead as a matter of 
cultural fact, and any "meaning" of life in the sense of a 
supernatural purpose is gone. Now it is up to man to 
give his life meaning by raising himself above the animals 
and the all-too-human. What else is human nature but a 
euphemism for inertia, cultural conditioning, and what we 
are before we make something of ourselves? Our so- 
called human nature is precisely what we should do well 
to overcome; and the man who has overcome it Zarathustra 
calls the overman. 

Shaw has popularized the ironic word "superman," which 
has since become associated with Nietzsche and the comics 
without ever losing its sarcastic tinge. In the present trans- 
lation the older term, "overman," has been reinstated: it 
may help to bring out the close relation between Nietzsche's 
conceptions of the overman and self-overcoming, and to 
recapture something of his rhapsodical play on the words 
"over" and "under," particularly marked throughout the 
Prologue. Of the many "under" words, the German unter- 
gehen poses the greatest problem of translation: it is the 
ordinary word for the setting of the sun, and it also means 
"to perish"; but Nietzsche almost always uses it with the 
accent on "under" — either by way of echoing another 
"under" in the same sentence or, more often, by way of 
contrast with an "over" word, usually overman. Again and 
again, a smooth idiomatic translation would make nonsense 
of such passages, and "go under" seemed the least evil. 
After all, Zarathustra has no compunctions about worse 
linguistic sins. 

"Over" words, some of them coinages, are common in 
this work, and Vbermensch has to be understood in 
its context. Mensch means human being as opposed to 
animal, and what is called for is not a super-brute but a 
human being who has created for himself that unique 



position in the cosmos which the Bible considered his 
divine birthright. The meaning of life is thus found on 
earth, in this life, not as the inevitable outcome of evolution, 
which might well give us the "last man" instead, but in 
the few human beings who raise themselves above the all- 
too-human mass. In the first edition the Prologue had the 
title "On the Overman and the Last Man." The latter 
invites comparison with Huxley's Brave New World and 
with Heidegger's famous discussion of Das Man in Sein 
und Zeit. 

1. On the Three Metamorphoses: To become more than an 
all-too-human animal man must become a creator. But 
this involves a break with previous norms. Beethoven, for 
example, creates new norms with his works. Yet this break 
is constructive only when accomplished not by one who 
wants to make things easy for himself, but by one who 
has previously subjected himself to the discipline of tradi- 
tion. First comes the beast of burden, then the defiant 
lion, then creation. "Parting from our cause when it 
triumphs" — as Nietzsche did when Wagner triumphed 
in Bayreuth. 

2. On the Teachers of Virtue: Sunny sarcasm. Our tradi- 
tional virtues consecrate stereotyped mediocrity and make 
for sound sleep. But where sleep is the goal, life lacks 
meaning. To bring out the full meaning of the blasphemous 
final sentence, it may be well to quote from Stefan Zweig's 
essay, "Friedrich Nietzsche," which is unsurpassed in its 
brief sketch of Nietzsche's way of life: "No devilish torture 
is lacking in this dreadful pandemonium of sickness: head- 
aches, deafening, hammering headaches, which knock out 
the reeling Nietzsche for days and prostrate him on sofa 
and bed, stomach cramps with bloody vomiting, migraines, 
fevers, lack of appetite, weariness, hemorrhoids, constipa- 
tion, chills, night sweat — a gruesome circle. In addition, 
there are his 'three-quarters blind eyes,' which, at the 
least exertion, begin immediately to swell and fill with 
tears and grant the intellectual worker only 'an hour and 
a half of vision a day.' But Nietzsche despises this hygiene 


of his body and works at his desk for ten hours, and 
for this excess his overheated brain takes revenge with 
raging headaches and a nervous overcharge; at night, when 
the body has long become weary, it does not permit itself 
to be turned off suddenly, but continues to burrow in 
visions and ideas until it is forcibly knocked out by opiates. 
But ever greater quantities are needed (in two months 
Nietzsche uses up fifty grams of chloral hydrate to purchase 
this handful of sleep); then the stomach refuses to pay 
so high a price and rebels. And now — vicious circle — 
spasmodic vomiting, new headaches which require new 
medicines, an inexorable, insatiable, passionate conflict of 
the infuriated organs, which throw the thorny ball of suffer- 
ing to each other as in a mad game. Never a point of 
rest in this up and down, never an even stretch of content- 
ment or a short month full of comfort and self-forgetful- 
ness." For Nietzsche, sleep was clearly not the end of life. 
Yet he could well say, "Blessed are the sleepy ones: for 
they shall soon drop off." 

3. On the Afterworldly: A literal translation of "meta- 
physicians"; but Zarathusrra takes issue with all who 
deprecate this world for the greater glory of another world. 
The passage about the "leap" may seem to be aimed at 
Kierkegaard — of whom Nietzsche, however, heard only in 
1888, too late to acquaint himself with the ideas of the 

4. On the Despisers of the Body: The psychological anal- 
ysis begun in the previous chapter is here carried further. 
The use of the term "ego" influenced Freud, via G^org 

5. On Enjoying and Suffering the Passions [Von den 
Freuden- und Leidenschaften) : The passions, called evil 
because they are potentially destructive, can also be 
creatively employed and enjoyed. Unlike Kant, who had 
taught that "a collision of duties is unthinkable," Nietzsche 
knows that a passion for justice or honesty may frequently 
conflict with other virtues. But even if Rembrandt was torn 
between his dedication to his art and his devotion to his 


family, who would wish that he had been less passionate 

a painter or poorer in compassion? 

6. On the Pale Criminal: Too abstract to make sense to 
Nietzsche's first readers, including even his onta close 
friend Rohde, much of this chapter now seems like reflec- 
tions on Dostoevski's Baskolnikov. But Nietzsche had not 
yet discovered Dostoevski. And some of the psychological 
insights offered here go beyond Dostoevski. 

7. On Heading and Writing: Compulsory education for all 
has lowered cultural standards; thinkers and writers have 
come to think and write for the masses. References to 
novelists and artists who end up in Hollywood are lacking 
because Nietzsche died in 1900. The dance is to Nietzsche a 
symbol of joy and levity, and the antithesis of gravity. He 
associates it with Dionysus; but the Hindus too have a 
dancing god, Shiva Nataraja — no less a contrast to the 
three great monotheistic religions. 

8. On the Tree on the Mountainside: Advice for adolescents. 

9. On the Preachers of Death: An encounter with a sick 
man, an old man, and a corpse is said to have prompted 
the Buddha's departure from his father's palace. But 
relentless work, too, can be sought as a narcotic and a 
living death. 

10. On War and Warriors: The "saints of knowledge" are 
above "hatred and envy"; but those still seeking knowledge 
must fight, must wage war, for their thoughts. Vanquished 
in this contest, they may yet find cause for triumph in 
the victory of truth. They must be like warriors: brave and 
without consideration for the feelings of others. In this 
context, "You should love peace as a means to new wars — 
and the short peace more than the long," is surely far 
from fascism; but the epigram invites quotation out of 
context. The same applies to "the good war that hallows 
any cause"; we revere Plato's Republic not for its cause 
(which many of us believe to have been, at least in part, 
totalitarianism), but because few men, if any, have ever 
waged a more brilliant war for any cause. 


Being able to coin better slogans for positions he detested 
than the men believing in them — and then using such 
phrases in an entirely different sense — seems to have given 
Nietzsche uncommon satisfaction. He felt that he was 
hitting right and left, and he was horrified when he found 
that the rightist parties began brazenly to use him. (For 
a more detailed discussion of this chapter, see my Nietzsche, 
Chapter 12, section VII.) 

11. On the New Idol: A vehement denunciation of the state 
and of war in the literal sense. Straight anti-fascism, but 
cot in the name of any rival political creed. In Nietzsche's 
own phrase: anti-political. 

12. On the Flies of the Market Place: Against the mass and 
its idols. Inspired by the contrast of Bayreuth and Sils 
Maria, Wagner and Nietzsche. But today we are more apt 
to think of Hitler than of Wagner. 

13. On Chastity: One man's virtue is another man's poison. 

14. On the Friend: Nietzsche's extreme individualism is 
tempered by his development of the Greek conception of 

15. On the Thousand and One Goals: Except for private 
notes, published much later, this chapter contains the first 
mention of the will to power. What is meant in this con- 
text is clearly power over self, and the phrase is taken up 
again in the chapter "On Self-Overcoming" in Part Two. 
The four historical examples are: Greeks, Persians, Jews, 
Germans. (For an analysis, see my Nietzsche, 6, III; for 
a discussion of "The Discovery of the Will to Power," the 
whole of Chapter 6.) 

16. On Love of the Neighbor: Jesus said: "Ye have heard 
that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and 
hate thine enemy. But I say unto you: Love your enemies." 
He took issue not with the old Mosaic commandment to 
Jove thy neighbor — that had never been coupled with any 
commandment to hate the enemy but had even been 
pointedly extended to include him — but with that comfort- 
able state of mind which makes things easy for itself while 


aiding behind a f agade of virtue. In this respect Nietzsche'* 
polemic is profoundly similar to Jesus'. But, in the wordj 
of Zarathustra, he remains "faithful to the earth" and 
deprecates the shortcomings of mutual indulgence, while 
celebrating friendship between those who spur each other 
on toward man's perfection. (See my Nietzsche, 12, IV.) 

17. On the 'Willi of the Creator: Zarathustra does not 
preach universal anarchy: only the creator must break with 
ancient norms. 

18. On Little Old and Young Women: The affectionate 
diminutive in the title (Weiblein) suggests at once what is 
the main difference between this chapter and its vitriolic 
prototype, Schopenhauer's essay Von den Weibem: a touch 
of humor. In Part Three, moreover, in "The Other Dancing 
Song," Nietzsche makes fun of the little old woman's 
dictum that concludes the present chapter. A photograph 
taken less than a year before he wrote Part One also 
supplies an amusing perspective. It shows Nietzsche and 
his friend Paul Ree (author of Der Ursprung der mora- 
lischen Empfindungen) pretending to pull a little cart on 
which Lou Salome, then their mutual friend, is enthroned 
with a tiny whip. We have it on her authority that the 
picture was posed under Nietzsche's direction, and that he 
decorated the whip with flowers. But although Nietzsche 
should be defended against witless admirers and detractors, 
his remarks about women are surely, more often than not, 
second-hand and third-rate. 

19. On the Adder's Bite: One might wish that the following 
lines were better known than the preceding chapter: "But 
if you have an enemy, do not requite him evil with good, 
for that would put him to shame. Rather prove that he 
did you some good. And rather be angry than put to 
shame. And if you are cursed, I do not like it that you 
want to bless. Rather join a little in the cursing." This 
should be compared with Paul's Epistle to the Romans, 
12:14ft.: "Bless them which persecute you: bless, and 
curse not. . . • Avenge not yourselves, but give place unto 
wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine: I will repay, 


saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed 
him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shah 
heap coals' of fire on his head." Nietzsche's whole chapter 
is an attack on what he later called ressentiment. (See my 
Nietzsche, 12, V. ) 

20. On Child and Marriage: It may require careful reading 
to see that Nietzsche repudiates only certain kinds of pity 
and love of the neighbor, but in this chapter he makes a 
clear distinction indeed between the kind of marriage he 
opposes and the kind he would applaud. 

21. On Free Death: A celebration of Socrates' way of 
dying as opposed to Jesus'. Nietzsche's own creeping death 
was to take eleven years to destroy his body after it had 
destroyed his mind. 

22. On the Gift-Giving Virtue: The egoism of the powerful, 
whose happiness consists in giving, is contrasted with that 
of the weak. The core of the last section is quoted again in 
the Preface to Ecce Homo, late in 1888: Nietzsche wants no 
believers but, like Socrates, aims to help others to find them- 
selves and surpass him. 

Zarathustra's Prologue 

When Zarathustra was thirty years old he left his 
home and the lake of his home and went into the 
mountains. Here he enjoyed his spirit and his solitude, 
and for ten years did not tire of it. But at last a change 
came over his heart, and one morning he rose with the 
dawn, stepped before the sun, and spoke to it thus: 

"You great star, what would your happiness be had 
you not those for whom you shine? 

"For ten years you have climbed to my cave: you 
would have tired of your light and of the journey had 
it not been for me and my eagle and my serpent 


"But we waited for you every morning, took your 
overflow from you, and blessed you for it. 

"Behold, I am weary of my wisdom, like a bee that 
has gathered too much honey; I need hands out- 
stretched to receive it. 

"I would give away and distribute, until the wise 
among men find joy once again in their folly, and the 
poor in their riches. 

"For that I must descend to the depths, as you do 
in the evening when you go behind the sea and still 
bring light to the underworld, you overrich star. 

"Like you, I must go under — go down, as is said by 
man, to whom I want to descend. 

"So bless me then, you quiet eye that can look even 
upon an all-too-great happiness without envy! 

"Bless the cup that wants to overflow, that the water 
may flow from it golden and carry everywhere the re- 
flection of your delight. 

"Behold, this cup wants to become empty again, and 
Zarathustra wants to become man again." 

Thus Zarathustra began to go under. 


Zarathustra descended alone from the mountains, en- 
countering no one. But when he came into the forest, 
all at once there stood before him an old man who had 
left his holy cottage to look for roots in the woods. And 
thus spoke the old man to Zarathustra: 

"No stranger to me is this wanderer: many years ago 
he passed this way. Zarathustra he was called, but he 
has changed. At that time you carried your ashes to 
the mountains; would you now carry your fire into 
the valleys? Do you not fear to be punished as an 

"Yes, I recognize Zarathustra. His eyes are pure, and 


around his mouth there hides no disgust. Does he not 
walk like a dancer? 

"Zarathustra has changed, Zarathustra has become a 
child, Zarathustra is an awakened one; what do you 
now want among the sleepers? You lived in your soli- 
tude as in the sea, and the sea carried you. Alas, would 
you now climb ashore? Alas, would you again drag 
your own body?" 

Zarathustra answered: "I love man." 

"Why," asked the saint, "did I go into the forest and 
the desert? Was it not because I loved man all-too- 
much? Now I love God; man I love not. Man is for me 
too imperfect a thing. Love of man would kill me." 

Zarathustra answered: "Did I speak of love? I bring 
men a gift." 

"Give them nothing!" said the saint. "Rather, take 
part of their load and help them to bear it — that will 
be best for them, if only it does you good! And if you 
want to give them something, give no more than alms, 
and let them beg for thatl" 

"No," answered Zarathustra. "I give no alms. For 
•that I am not poor enough." 

The saint laughed at Zarathustra and spoke thus: 
"Then see to it that they accept your treasures. They 
are suspicious of hermits and do not believe that we 
come with gifts. Our steps sound too lonely through 
the streets. And what if at night, in their beds, they 
hear a man walk by long before the sun has risen — 
they probably ask themselves, Where is the thief go- 

"Do not go to man. Stay in the forest! Go rather 
even to the animals! Why do you not want to be as I 
am — a bear among bears, a bird among birds?" 

"And what is the saint doing in the forest?" asked 


The saint answered: "I make songs and sing them; 
and when I make songs, I laugh, cry, and hum: thus I 
praise God. With singing, crying, laughing, and hum- 
ming, I praise the god who is my god. But what do you 
bring us as a gift?" 

When Zarathustra had heard these words he bade 
the saint farewell and said: "What could I have to give 
you? But let me go quickly lest I take something from 
youl" And thus they separated, the old one and the 
man, laughing as two boys laugh. 

But when Zarathustra was alone he spoke thus to 
his heart: "Could it be possible? This old saint in the 
forest has not yet heard anything of this, that God is 


When Zarathustra came into the next town, which 
lies on the edge of the forest, he found many people 
gathered together in the market place; for it had been 
promised that there would be a tightrope walker. And 
Zarathustra spoke thus to the people: 

"I teach you the overman. Man is something that 
shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome 

"All beings so far have created something beyond 
themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this 
great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than 
overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughing- 
stock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be 
just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful 
embarrassment. You have made your way from worm 
to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were 
apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any 

"Whoever is the wisest among you is also a mere 

conflict and cross between plant and ghost. But do I 
bid you become ghosts or plants? 

"Behold, I teach you the overman. The overman is 
the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the over- 
man shall be the meaning of the earth! I beseech you, 
my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not 
believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! 
Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not. 
Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned them- 
selves, of whom the earth is weary: so let them go. 

"Once the sin against God was the greatest sin; but 
God died, and these sinners died with him. To sin 
against the earth is now the most dreadful thing, and 
to esteem the entrails of the unknowable higher than 
the meaning of the earth. 

"Once the soul looked contemptuously upon the 
body, and then this contempt was the highest: she 
wanted the body meager, ghastly, and starved. Thus 
she hoped to escape it and the earth. Oh, this soul her- 
self was still meager, ghastly, and starved: and cruelty 
was the lust of this soul. But you, too, my brothers, tell 
me: what does your body proclaim of your soul? Is not 
your soul poverty and filth and wretched contentment? 

"Verily, a polluted stream is man. One must be a 
sea to be able to receive a polluted stream without be- 
coming unclean. Behold, I teach you the overman: he 
is this sea; in him your great contempt can go under. 

"What is the greatest experience you can have? It 
is the hour of the great contempt. The hour in which 
your happiness, too, arouses your disgust, and even 
your reason and your virtue. 

"The hour when you say, "What matters my happi- 
ness? It is poverty and filth and wretched contentment. 
But my happiness ought to justify existence itself.' 

"The hour when you say, 'What matters my reason? 


Does it crave knowledge as the lion his food? It is 

poverty and filth and wretched contentment.' 

The hour when you say, "What matters my virtue? 
As yet it has not made me rage. How weary I am of 
my good and my evill All that is poverty and filth and 
wretched contentment.' 

"The hour when you say, "What matters my justice? 
I do not see that I am flames and fuel. But the just are 
flames and fuel.' 

"The hour when you say, "What matters my pity? 
Is not pity the cross on which he is nailed who loves 
man? But my pity is no crucifixion.' 

"Have you yet spoken thus? Have you yet cried 
thus? Oh, that I might have heard you cry thusl 

"Not your sin but your thrift cries to heaven; your 
meanness even in your sin cries to heaven. 

"Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? 
Where is the frenzy with which you should be in- 

"Behold, I teach you the overman: he is this light- 
ning, he is this frenzy." 

When Zarathustra had spoken thus, one of the 
people cried: "Now we have heard enough about the 
tightrope walker; now let us see him tool" And all 
the people laughed at Zarathustra. But the tightrope 
walker, believing that the word concerned him, began 
his performance. 


Zarathustra, however, beheld the people and was 
amazed. Then he spoke thus: 

"Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman — a 
rope over an abyss. A dangerous across, a dangerous 
on-the-way, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous 
shuddering and stopping. 


"What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not 
an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an 
overture and a going under. 

"I love those who do not know how to live, except 
by going under, for they are those who cross over. 

"I love the great despisers because they are the great 
reverers and arrows of longing for the other shore. 

"I love those who do not first seek behind the stars 
for a reason to go under and be a sacrifice, but who 
sacrifice themselves for the earth, that the earth may 
some day become the overman's. 

"I love him who lives to know, and who wants to 
know so that the overman may live some day. And 
thuB he wants to go under. 

"I love him who works and invents to build a house 
for the overman and to prepare earth, animal, and 
plant for him: for thus he wants to go under. 

"I love him who loves his virtue, for virtue is the 
will to go under and an arrow of longing. 

"I love him who does not hold back one drop of 
spirit for himself, but wants to be entirely the spirit of 
his virtue: thus he strides over the bridge as spirit. 

"I love him who makes his virtue his addiction and 
his catastrophe: for his virtue's sake he wants to live 
on and to live no longer. 

"I love him who does not want to have too many 
virtues. One virtue is more virtue than two, because it 
is more of a noose on which his catastrophe may hang. 

"I love him whose soul squanders itself, who wants 
no thanks and returns none: for he always gives away 
and does not want to preserve himself. 

"I love him who is abashed when the dice fall to 
make his fortune, and asks, 'Am I then a crooked 
gambler?" For he wants to perish. 

"I love him who casts golden words before his deeds 


and always does even more than he promises: for he 

wants to go under. 

"I love him who justifies future and redeems past 
generations: for he wants to perish of the present. 

"I love him who chastens his god because he loves 
his god: for he must perish of the wrath of his god. 

"I love him whose soul is deep, even in being 
wounded, and who can perish of a small experience: 
thus he goes gladly over the bridge* 

"I love him whose soul is overfull so that he forgets 
himself, and all things are in him: thus all things spell 
his going under. 

"I love him who has a free spirit and a free heart: 
thus his head is only the entrails of his heart, but his 
heart drives him to go under. 

"I love all those who are as heavy drops, falling one 
by one out of the dark cloud that hangs over men: they 
herald the advent of lightning, and, as heralds, they 

"Behold, I am a herald of the lightning and a heavy 
drop from the cloud; but this lightning is called over- 


When Zarathustra had spoken these words he beheld 
the people again and was silent. "There they stand," 
he said to his heart; "there they laugh. They do not 
understand me; I am not the mouth for these ears. 
Must one smash their ears before they learn to listen 
with their eyes? Must one clatter like kettledrums and 
preachers of repentance? Or do they believe only the 

"They have something of which they are proud. 
What do they call that which makes them proud? Edu- 
cation they call it; it distinguishes them from goatherds. 


That is why they do not like to hear the word 'con- 
tempt' applied to them. Let me then address their 
pride. Let me speak to them of what is most contempti- 
ble: but that is the last man." 

And thus spoke Zarathustra to the people: "The time 
has come for man to set himself a goal. The time has 
come for man to plant the seed of his highest hope. 
His soil is still rich enough. But one day this soil will 
be poor and domesticated, and no tall tree will be 
able to grow in it. Alas, the time is coming when 
man will no longer shoot the arrow of his longing be- 
yond man, and the string of his bow will have forgot- 
ten how to whir! 

"I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself 
to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto 
you: you still have chaos in yourselves. 

"Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer 
give birth to a star. Alas, the time of the most despica- 
ble man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise 
himself. Behold, I show you the last man. 

" 'What is love? What is creation? What is longing? 
What is a star?" thus asks the last man, and he 

"The earth has become small, and on it hops the last 
man, who makes everything small. His race is as 
ineradicable as the flea-beetle; the last man lives 

" 'We have invented happiness,' say the last men, 
and they blink. They have left the regions where it was 
hard to live, for one needs warmth. One still loves 
one's neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs 

"Becoming sick and harboring suspicion are sinful 
to them: one proceeds carefully. A fool, whoever still 
stumbles over stones or human beings! A little poison 


now and then: that makes for agreeable dreams. And 

much poison in the end, for an agreeable death. 

"One still works, for work is a form of entertain- 
ment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too 
harrowing. One no longer becomes poor or rich: both 
require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? 
Who obey? Both require too much exertion. 

"No shepherd and one herd I Everybody wants the 
same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different 
goes voluntarily into a madhouse. 

" 'Formerly, all the world was mad,' say the most re- 
fined, and they blink. 

"One is clever and knows everything that has ever 
happened: so there is no end of derision. One still 
quarrels, but one is soon reconciled — else it might spoil 
the digestion. 

"One has one's little pleasure for the day and one's 
little pleasure for the night: but one has a regard for 

"'We have invented happiness,' say the last men, 
and they blink." 

And here ended Zarathustra's first speech, which is 
also called "the Prologue"; for at this point he was in- 
terrupted by the clamor and delight of the crowd. 
"Give us this last man, O Zarathustra," they shouted. 
"Turn us into these last menl Then we shall make you 
a gift of the overman!" And all the people jubilated 
and clucked with their tongues. 

But Zarathustra became sad and said to his heart: 
"They do not understand me: I am not the mouth for 
these ears. I seem to have lived too long in the moun- 
tains; I listened too much to brooks and trees: now I 
talk to them as to goatherds. My soul is unmoved and 
bright as the mountains in the morning. But they think 
I am cold and I jeer and make dreadful jests. And now 

they look at me and laugh: and as they laugh they 
even hate me. There is ice in their laughter." 


Then something happened that made every mouth 
dumb and every eye rigid. For meanwhile the tight- 
rope walker had begun his performance: he had 
stepped out of a small door and was walking over the 
rope, stretched between two towers and suspended 
over the market place and the people. When he had 
reached the exact middle of his course die small door 
opened once more and a fellow in motley clothes, look- 
ing like a jester, jumped out and followed the first one 
with quick steps. 

"Forward, lamefootl" he shouted in an awe-inspiring 
voice. "Forward, lazybones, smuggler, pale-face, or I 
shall tickle you with my heel! What are you doing here 
between towers? The tower is where you belong. You 
ought to be locked up; you block the way for one bet- 
ter than yourself." And with every word he came 
closer and closer; but when he was but one step be- 
hind, the dreadful thing happened which made every 
mouth dumb and every eye rigid: he uttered a devilish 
cry and jumped over the man who stood in his way. 
This man, however, seeing his rival win, lost his head 
and the rope, tossed away his pole, and plunged into 
the depth even faster, a whirlpool of arms and legs. 
The market place became as the sea when a tempest 
pierces it: the people rushed apart and over one an- 
other, especially at the place where the body must hit 
the ground. 

Zara.thustra, however, did not move; and it was right 
next to him that the body fell, badly maimed and dis- 
figured, but not yet dead. After a while the shattered 
man recovered consciousness and saw Zarathustra 


kneeling beside him. "What are you doing here?" he 
asked at last. "I have long known that the devil would 
trip me. Now he will drag me to hell. Would you pre- 
vent him?" 

"By my honor, friend," answered Zarathustra, "all 
that of which you speak does not exist: there is no 
devil and no hell. Your soul will be dead even before 
your body: fear nothing further." 

The man looked up suspiciously. "If you speak the 
truth," he said, "I lose nothing when I lose my life. I 
am not much more than a beast that has been taught to 
dance by blows and a few meager morsels." 

"By no means," said Zarathustra. "You have made 
danger your vocation; there is nothing contemptible in 
that. Now you perish of your vocation: for that I will 
bury you with my own hands." 

When Zarathustra had said this, the dying man an- 
swered no more; but he moved his hand as if he sought 
Zarathustra's hand in thanks. 


Meanwhile the evening came, and the market place 
hid in darkness. Then the people scattered, for even 
curiosity and terror grow weary. But Zarathustra sat 
on the ground near the dead man, and he was lost in 
thought, forgetting the time. At last night came, and a 
cold wind blew over the lonely one. 

Then Zarathustra rose and said to his heart: "Verily, 
it is a beautiful catch of fish that Zarathustra has 
brought in today! Not a man has he caught but a 
corpse. Human existence is uncanny and still without 
meaning: a jester can become man's fatality. I will 
teach men the meaning of their existence — the over- 
man, the lightning out of the dark cloud of man. But 
I am still far from them, and my sense does not speak 


to their senses. To men I am still the mean between a 
fool and a corpse. 

"Dark is the night, dark are Zarathustra's ways. 
Come, cold, stiff companion I I shall carry you where 
I may bury you with my own hands." 


When Zarathustra had said this to his heart he 
hoisted the corpse on his back and started on his way. 
And he had not taken a hundred steps when a man 
sneaked up to him and whispered in his ear — and be- 
hold, it was the jester from the tower. "Go away from 
this town, Zarathustra," said he; "there are too many 
here who hate you. You are hated by the good and the 
just, and they call you their enemy and despiser; you 
are hated by the believers in the true faith, and they 
call you the danger of the multitude. It was your good 
fortune that you were laughed at; and verily, you 
talked like a jester. It was your good fortune that you 
stooped to the dead dog; when you lowered yourself 
so far, you saved your own life for today. But go away 
from this town, or tomorrow I shall leap over you, one 
living over one dead." And when he had said this the 
man vanished; but Zarathustra went on through the 
dark lanes. 

At the gate of the town he met the gravediggers; 
they shone their torches in his face, recognized Zara- 
thustra, and mocked him. "Zarathustra carries off the 
dead dog: how nice that Zarathustra has become a 
gravediggerl For our hands are too clean for this roast. 
Would Zarathustra steal this bite from the devil? Well 
then, we wish you a good meal. If only the devil were 
not a better thief than Zarathustra: he will steal them 
both, he will gobble up both." And they laughed and 
put their heads together. 


Zarathustra never said a word and went his way. 
When he had walked two hours, past forests and 
swamps, he heard so much of the hungry howling of 
the wolves that he himself felt hungry. So he stopped 
at a lonely house in which a light was burning. 

"Like a robber, hunger overtakes me," said Zara- 
thustra. "In forests and swamps my hunger overtakes 
me, and in the deep of night. My hunger is certainly 
capricious: often it comes to me only after a meal, and 
today it did not come all day; where could it have 

And at that Zarathustra knocked at the door of the 
house. An old man appeared, carrying the light, and 
asked: "Who is it that comes to me and to my bad 

"A living and a dead man," said Zarathustra. "Give 
me something to eat and to drink; I forgot about it. dur- 
ing the day. He who feeds the hungry refreshes his own 
soul: thus speaks wisdom." 

The old man went away, but returned shortly and 
offered Zarathustra bread and wine. "This is an evil 
region for the hungry," he said; "that is why I live 
here. Beast and man come to me, the hermit. But bid 
your companion, too, eat and drink; he is wearier than 
you are." 

Zarathustra replied: "My companion is dead; I 
should hardly be able to persuade him." 

"I don't care," said the old man peevishly. "Who- 
ever knocks at my door must also take what I offer. Eat 
and be off!" 

Thereupon Zarathustra walked another two hours, 
trusting the path and the light of the stars; for he was 
used to walking at night and he liked to look in the 
face of all that slept. But when the dawn came Zara- 

thustra found himself in a deep forest, and he did not 
see a path anywhere. So he laid the dead man into a 
hollow tree — for he wanted to protect him from the 
wolves — and he himself lay down on the ground and 
the moss, his head under the tree. And soon he fell 
asleep, his body weary but his soul unmoved. 


For a long time Zarathustra slept, and not only dawn 
passed over his face but the morning too. At last, how- 
ever, his eyes opened: amazed, Zarathustra looked into 
the woods and the silence; amazed, he looked into 
himself. Then he rose quickly, like a seafarer who sud- 
denly sees land, and jubilated, for he saw a new truth. 
And thus he spoke to his heart: 

"An insight has come to me: companions I need, 
living ones — not dead companions and corpses whom 
I carry with myself wherever I want to. Living com- 
panions I need, who follow me because they want to 
follow themselves — wherever I want. 

"An insight has come to me: let Zarathustra speak 
not to the people but to companions. Zarathustra shall 
not become the shepherd and dog of a herd. 

"To lure many away from the herd, for that I have 
come. The people and the herd shall be angry with 
me: Zarathustra wants to be called a robber by the 

"Shepherds, I say; but they call themselves the good 
and the just. Shepherds, I say; but they call themselves 
believers in the true faith. 

"Behold the good and the justl Whom do they hate 
most? The man who breaks their tables of values, the 
breaker, the lawbreaker; yet he is the creator. 

"Behold the believers of all faithsl Whom do they 


hate most? The man who breaks their tables of values, 

the breaker, the lawbreaker; yet he is the creator. 

"Companions, the creator seeks, not corpses, not 
herds and believers. Fellow creators, the creator seeks 
— those who write new values on new tablets. Com- 
panions, the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for 
everything about him is ripe for the harvest. But he 
lacks a hundred sickles: so he plucks ears and is an- 
noyed. Companions, the creator seeks, and such as 
know how to whet their sickles. Destroyers they will be 
called, and despisers of good and evil. But they are 
the harvesters and those who celebrate. Fellow crea- 
tors, Zarathustra seeks, fellow harvesters and fellow 
celebrants: what are herds and shepherds and corpses 
to him? 

"And you, my first companion, farewell! I buried you 
well in your hollow tree; I have hidden you well from 
the wolves. But I part from you; the time is up. Be- 
tween dawn and dawn a new truth has come to me. 
No shepherd shall I be, nor gravedigger. Never again 
shall I speak to the people: for the last time have I 
spoken to the dead. 

"I shall join the creators, the harvesters, the cele- 
brants: I shall show them the rainbow and all the steps 
to the overman. To the hermits I shall sing my song, 
to the lonesome and the twosome; and whoever still 
has ears for the unheard-of — his heart shall become 
heavy with my happiness. 

"To my goal I will go — on my own way; over those 
who hesitate and lag behind I shall leap. Thus let my 
going be their going under." 


This is what Zarathustra had told his heart when the 
sun stood high at noon; then he looked into the air, 

questioning, for overhead he heard the sharp call of a 
bird. And behold! An eagle soared through the sky in 
wide circles, and on him there hung a serpent, not like 
prey but like a friend: for she kept herself wound 
around his neck. 

"These are my animals," said Zarathustra and was 
happy in his heart. "The proudest animal under the 
sun and the wisest animal under the sun — they have 
gone out on a search. They want to determine whether 
Zarathustra is still alive. Verily, do I still live? I found 
life more dangerous among men than among animals; 
on dangerous paths walks Zarathustra. May my animals 
lead me!" 

When Zarathustra had said this he recalled the 
words of the saint in the forest, sighed, and spoke thus 
to his heart: "That I might be wiser! That I might be 
wise through and through like my serpent! But there 
I ask the impossible: so I ask my pride that it always 
go along with my wisdom. And when my wisdom 
leaves me one day— alas, it loves to fly away — let my 
pride then fly with my folly." 

Thus Zarathustra began to go under. 

Zarathustra's Speeches 


Of three metamorphoses of the spirit I tell you: how 
the spirit becomes a camel; and the camel, a lion; and 
the lion, finally, a child. 

There is much that is difficult for the spirit, the 
strong reverent spirit that would bear much: but the 
difficult and the most difficult are what its strength 


What is difficult? asks the spirit that would bear 
much, and kneels down like a camel wanting to be 
well loaded. What is most difficult, O heroes, asks the 
spirit that would bear much, that I may take it upon 
myself and exult in my strength? Is it not humbling 
oneself to wound one's haughtiness? Letting one's folly 
shine to mock one's wisdom? 

Or is it this: parting from our cause when it 
triumphs? Climbing high mountains to tempt the 

Or is it this: feeding on the acorns and grass of 
knowledge and, for the sake of the truth, suffering 
hunger in one's soul? 

Or is it this: being sick and sending home the com- 
forters and making friends with the deaf, who never 
hear what you want? 

Or is it this: stepping into filthy waters when they 
are the waters of truth, and not repulsing cold frogs 
and hot toads? 

Or is it this: loving those who despise us and offer- 
ing a hand to the ghost that would frighten us? 

All these most difficult things the spirit that would 
bear much takes upon itself: like the camel that, bur- 
dened, speeds into the desert, thus the spirit speeds 
into its desert. 

In the loneliest desert, however, the second meta- 
morphosis occurs: here the spirit becomes a lion who 
would conquer his freedom and be master in his own 
desert. Here he seeks out his last master: he wants to 
fight him and his last god; for ultimate victory he 
wants to fight with the great dragon. 

Who is the great dragon whom the spirit will no 
longer call lord and god? "Thou shalt" is the name of 
the great dragon. But the spirit of the lion says, "I 

will." "Thou shalt" lies in his way, sparkling like gold, 
an animal covered with scales; and on every scale 
shines a golden "thou shalt." 

Values, thousands of years old, shine on these scales; 
and thus speaks the mightiest of all dragons: "All value 
of all things shines on me. All value has long been 
created, and I am all created value. Verily, there shall 
be no more 'I will.'" Thus speaks the dragon. 

My brothers, why is there a need in the spirit for 
the lion? Why is not the beast of burden, which re- 
nounces and is reverent, enough? 

To create new values — that even the lion cannot do; 
but the creation of freedom for oneself for new crea- 
tion — that is within the power of the lion. The crea- 
tion of freedom for oneself and a sacred "No" even to 
duty — for that, my brothers, the lion is needed. To 
assume the right to new values — that is the most ter- 
rifying assumption for a reverent spirit that would bear 
much. Verily, to him it is preying, and a matter for a 
beast of prey. He once loved "thou shalt" as most 
sacred: now he must find illusion and caprice even in 
the most sacred, that freedom from his love may be- 
come his prey: the lion is needed for such prey. 

But say, my brothers, what can the child do that 
even the lion could not do? Why must the preying lion 
still become a child? The child is innocence and for- 
getting, a new beginning, a game, a self-propelled 
wheel, a first movement, a sacred "Yes." For the game 
of creation, my brothers, a sacred "Yes" is needed: the 
spirit now wills his own will, and he who had been 
lost to the world now conquers his own world. 

Of three metamorphoses of the spirit I have told 
you: how the spirit became a camel; and the camel, a 
lion; and the lion, finally, a child. 


Thus spoke Zarathustra. And at that time he so- 
journed in the town that is called The Motley Cow. 


A sage was praised to Zarathustra for knowing how 
to speak well of sleep and of virtue: he was said to be 
honored and rewarded highly for this, and all the 
youths were said to be sitting at his feet. To him 
Zarathustra went, and he sat at his feet with all the 
youths. And thus spoke the sage: 

"Honor sleep and be bashful before it — that first of 
all. And avoid all who sleep badly and stay awake at 
night. Even the thief is bashful before sleep: he always 
steals silently through the night. Shameless, however, 
is the watchman of the night; shamelessly he carries 
his horn. 

"Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay 
awake all day. Ten times a day you must overcome 
yourself: that makes you good and tired and is opium 
for the soul. Ten times you must reconcile yourself 
again with yourself; for, overcoming is bitterness, and 
the unreconciled sleep badly. Ten truths a day you 
must find; else you will still be seeking truth by night, 
and your soul will remain hungry. Ten times a day you 
must laugh and be cheerful; else you will be disturbed 
at night by your stomach, this father of gloom. 

"Few know it, but one must have all the virtues to 
sleep well. Shall I bear false witness? Shall I commit 
adultery? Shall I covet my neighbor's maid? All that 
would go ill with good sleep. 

"And even if one has all the virtues, there is one 
further thing one must know: to send even the virtues 
to sleep at the right time. Lest they quarrel with each 
other, the fair little women, about you, child of mis- 


fortune. Peace with God and the neighbor: that is 
what good sleep demands. And peace even with the 
neighbor's devil — else he will haunt you at night. 

"Honor the magistrates and obey them — even the 
crooked magistrates. Good sleep demands it. Is it my 
fault that power likes to walk on crooked legs? 

"I shall call him the best shepherd who leads his 
sheep to the greenest pasture: that goes well with good 

"I do not want many honors, or great jewels: that in- 
flames the spleen. But one sleeps badly without a good 
name and a little jewel. 

"A little company is more welcome to me than evil 
company: but they must go and come at the right 
time. That goes well with good sleep. 

"Much, too, do I like the poor in spirit: they pro- 
mote sleep. Blessed are they, especially if one always 
tells them that they are right. 

"Thus passes the day of the virtuous. And when 
night comes I guard well against calling sleep. For 
sleep, who is the master of the virtues, does not want 
to be called. Instead, I think about what I have done 
and thought during the day. Chewing the cud, I ask 
myself, patient as a cow, Well, what were your ten 
overcomings? and what were your ten reconciliations 
and the ten truths and the ten laughters with which 
your heart edified itself? Weighing such matters and 
rocked by forty thoughts, I am suddenly overcome by 
sleep, the uncalled, the master of the virtues. Sleep 
knocks at my eyes: they become heavy. Sleep touches 
my mouth: it stays open. Verily, on soft soles he comes 
to me, the dearest of thieves, and steals my thoughts: 
stupid I stand, like this chair here. But not for long do 
I stand like this: soon I lie." 

When Zarathustra heard the sage speak thus he 


laughed in his heart, for an insight had come to him; 

And thus he spoke to his heart: 

"This sage with his forty thoughts is a fool; but I 
believe that he knows well how to sleep. Happy is he 
that even lives near this sagel Such sleep is con- 
tagious — contagious even through a thick wall. There 
is magic even in his chair; and it is not in vain that 
the youths sit before this preacher of virtue. His wis- 
dom is: to wake in order to sleep well. And verily, 
if life had no sense and I had to choose nonsense, 
then I too should consider this the most sensible 

"Now I understand clearly what was once sought 
above all when teachers of virtue were sought. Good 
sleep was sought, and opiate virtues for it. For all these 
much praised sages who were teachers of virtue, wis- 
dom was the sleep without dreams: they knew no 
better meaning of life. 

"Today too there may still be a few like this 
preacher of virtue, and not all so honest; but their time 
is up. And not for long will they stand like this: soon 
they will lie. 

"Blessed are the sleepy ones: for they shall soon 
drop off." 
Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


At one time Zarathustra too cast his delusion beyond 
man, like all the afterworldly. The work of a suffering 
and tortured god, the world then seemed to me. A 
dream the world then seemed to me, and the fiction 
of a god: colored smoke before the eyes of a dissatis- 
fied deity. Good and evil and joy and pain and I and 
you— colored smoke this seemed to me before creative 

eyes. The creator wanted to look away from himself; 
so he created the world. 

Drunken joy it is for the sufferer to look away from 
his suffering and to lose himself. Drunken joy and loss 
of self the world once seemed to me. This world, 
eternally imperfect, the image of an eternal contradic- 
tion, an imperfect image — a drunken joy for its imper- 
fect creator: thus the world once appeared to me. 

Thus I too once cast my delusion beyond man, like 
all the afterworldly. Beyond man indeed? 

Alas, my brothers, this god whom I created was 
man-made and madness, like all gods! Man he was, 
and only a poor specimen of man and ego: out of my 
own ashes and fire this ghost came to me, and, verily, 
it did not come to me from beyond. What happened, 
my brothers? I overcame myself, the sufferer; I carried 
my own ashes to the mountains; I invented a brighter 
flame for myself. And behold, then this ghost fled from 
me. Now it would be suffering for me and agony for 
the recovered to believe in such ghosts: now it would 
be suffering for me and humiliation. Thus I speak to 
the afterworldly. 

It was suffering and incapacity that created all after- 
worlds — this and that brief madness of bliss which is 
experienced only by those who suffer most deeply. 

Weariness that wants to reach the ultimate with one 
leap, with one fatal leap, a poor ignorant weariness 
that does not want to want any more: this created all 
gods and af terworlds. 

Believe me, my brothers: it was the body that de- 
spaired of the body and touched the ultimate walls with 
the fingers of a deluded spirit. Believe me, my broth- 
ers: it was the body that despaired of the earth and 
heard the belly of being speak to it. It wanted to crash 
through these ultimate walls with its head, and not 


only with its head — over there to "that world." But 
"that world" is well concealed from humans — that de- 
humanized inhuman world which is a heavenly noth- 
ing; and the belly of being does not speak to humans 
at all, except as a human. 

Verily, all being is hard to prove and hard to induce 
to speak. Tell me, my brothers, is not the strangest of 
all things proved most nearly? 

Indeed, this ego and the ego's contradiction and con- 
fusion still speak most honestly of its being — this creat- 
ing, willing, valuing ego, which is the measure and 
value of things. And this most honest being, the ego, 
speaks of the body and still wants the body, even 
when it poetizes and raves and flutters with broken 
wings. It learns to speak ever more honestly, this ego: 
and the more it leams, the more words and honors it 
finds for body and earth. 

A new pride my ego taught me, and this I teach 
men: no longer to bury one's head in the sand of 
heavenly things, but to bear it freely, an earthly head, 
which creates a meaning for the earth. 

A new will I teach men: to will this way which man 
has walked blindly, and to affirm it, and no longer to 
sneak away from it like the sick and decaying. 

It was the sick and decaying who despised body and 
earth and invented the heavenly realm and the re- 
demptive drops of blood: but they took even these 
sweet and gloomy poisons from body and earth. They 
wanted to escape their own misery, and the stars were 
too far for them. So they sighed: "Would that there 
were heavenly ways to sneak into another state of be- 
ing and happiness 1" Thus they invented their sneaky 
ruses and bloody potions. Ungrateful, these people 
deemed themselves transported from their bodies and 
this earth. But to whom did they owe the convulsions 

and raptures of their transport? To their bodies and 
this earth. 

Zarathustra is gentle with the sick. Verily, he is not 
angry with their kinds of comfort and ingratitude. May 
they become convalescents, men of overcoming, and 
create a higher body for themselves! Nor is Zarathustra 
angry with the convalescent who eyes his delusion ten- 
derly and, at midnight, sneaks around the grave of his 
god: but even so his tears still betray sickness and a 
sick body to me. 

Many sick people have always been among the 
poetizers and God-cravers; furiously they hate the lover 
of knowledge and that youngest among the virtues, 
which is called "honesty." They always look backward 
toward dark ages; then, indeed, delusion and faith 
were another matter: the rage of reason was godlike- 
ness, and doubt was sin. 

I know diese godlike men all too well: they want 
one to have faith in them, and doubt to be sin. All too 
well I also know what it is in which they have most 
faith. Verily, it is not in afterworlds and redemptive 
drops of blood, but in the body, that they too have 
most faith; and their body is to them their thing-in- 
itself. But a sick thing it is to them, and gladly would 
they shed their skins. Therefore they listen to the 
preachers of death and themselves preach afterworlds. 

Listen rather, my brothers, to the voice of the 
healthy body: that is a more honest and purer voice. 
More honestly and purely speaks the healthy body that 
is perfect and perpendicular: and it speaks of the 
meaning of the earth. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 




I want to speak to the despisers of the body. I would 
not have them leam and teach differently, but merely 
say farewell to their own bodies — and thus become 

"Body am I, and soul" — thus speaks the child. And 
why should one not speak like children? 

But the awakened and knowing say: body am I en- 
tirely, and nothing else; and soul is only a word for 
something about the body. 

The body is a great reason, a plurality with one 
sense, a war and a peace, a herd and a shepherd. An 
instrument of your body is also your little reason, my 
brother, which you call "spirit" — a little instrument 
and toy of your great reason. 

"I," you say, and are proud of the word. But greater 
is that in which you do not wish to have faith — your 
body and its great reason: that does not say "I," but 
does "L" 

What the sense feels, what the spirit knows, never 
has its end in itself. But sense and spirit would per- 
suade you that they are the end of all things: that is 
how vain they are. Instruments and toys are sense and 
spirit: behind them still lies the self. The self also 
seeks with the eyes of the senses; it also listens with 
the ears of the spirit. Always the self listens and seeks: 
it compares, overpowers, conquers, destroys. It con- 
trols, and it is in control of the ego too. 

Behind your thoughts and feelings, my brother, 
there stands a mighty ruler, an unknown sage — whose 
name is self. In your body he dwells; he is your 

There is more reason in your body than in your best 

wisdom. And who knows why your body needs pre- 
cisely your best wisdom? 

Your self laughs at your ego and at its bold leaps. 
"What are these leaps and flights of thought to me?" 
it says to itself. "A detour to my end. I am the leading 
strings of the ego and the prompter of its concepts." 

The self says to the ego, "Feel pain here!" Then the 
ego suffers and thinks how it might suffer no more — 
and that is why it is made to think. 

The self says to the ego, "Feel pleasure here!" Then 
the ego is pleased and thinks how it might often be 
pleased again — and that is why it is made to think. 

I want to speak to the despisers of the body. It is 
their respect that begets their contempt. What is it that 
created respect and contempt and worth and will? The 
creative self created respect and contempt; it created 
pleasure and pain. The creative body created the spirit 
as a hand for its will. 

Even in your folly and contempt, you despisers of 
the body, you serve your self. I say unto you: your self 
itself wants to die and turns away from life. It is no 
longer capable of what it would do above all else: to 
create beyond itself. That is what it would do above 
all else, that is its fervent wish. 

But now it is too late for it to do this: so your self 
wants to go under, O despisers of the body. Your self 
wants to go under, and that is why you have become 
despisers of the body! For you are no longer able to 
create beyond yourselves. 

And that is why you are angry with life and the 
earth. An unconscious envy speaks out of the squint- 
eyed glance of your contempt. 

I shall not go your way, O despisers of the bodyl 
You are no bridge to the overman! 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 



My brother, if you have a virtue and she is your 
virtue, then you have her in common with nobody. To 
be sure, you want to call her by name and pet her; 
you want to pull her ear and have fun with her. And 
behold, now you have her name in common with the 
people and have become one of the people and herd 
with your virtue. 

You would do better to say, "Inexpressible and 
nameless is that which gives my soul agony and sweet- 
ness and is even the hunger of my entrails." 

May your virtue be too exalted for the familiarity of 
names: and if you must speak of her, then do not be 
ashamed to stammer of her. Then speak and stammer, 
"This is my good; this I love; it pleases me wholly; 
thus alone do I want the good. I do not want it as 
divine law; I do not want it as human statute and 
need: it shall not be a signpost for me to overearths 
and paradises. It is an earthly virtue that I love: there 
is little prudence in it, and least of all the reason of all 
men. But this bird built its nest with me: therefore I 
love and caress it; now it dwells with me, siting on its 
golden eggs." Thus you shall stammer and praise your 

Once you suffered passions and called them evil. But 
now you have only your virtues left: they grew out of 
your passions. You commended your highest goal to 
the heart of these passions: then they become your 
virtues and passions you enjoyed. 

And whether you came from the tribe of the choleric 
or of the voluptuous or of the fanatic or of the venge- 
ful, in the end all your passions became virtues and all 
your devils, angels. Once you had wild dogs in your 

cellar, but in the end they turned into birds and 
lovely singers. Out of your poisons you brewed your 
balsam. You milked your cow, melancholy; now you 
drink the sweet milk of her udder. 

And nothing evil grows out of you henceforth, unless 
it be the evil that grows out of the fight among your 
virtues. My brother, if you are fortunate you have only 
one virtue and no more: then you will pass over the 
bridge more easily. It is a distinction to have many 
virtues, but a hard lot; and many have gone into the 
desert and taken their lives because they had wearied 
of being the battle and battlefield of virtues. 

My brother, are war and battle evil? But this evil is 
necessary; necessary are the envy and mistrust and 
calumny among your virtues. Behold how each of your 
virtues covets what is highest: each wants your whole 
spirit that it might become her herald; each wants your 
whole strength in wrath, hatred, and love. Each virtue 
is jealous of the others, and jealousy is a terrible thing. 
Virtues too can perish of jealousy. Surrounded by the 
flame of jealousy, one will in the end, like the scorpion, 
turn one's poisonous sting against oneself. Alas, my 
brother, have you never yet seen a virtue deny and 
stab herself? 

Man is something that must be overcome; and there- 
fore you shall love your virtues, for you will perish of 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


You do not want to kill, O judges and sacrificers, 
until the animal has nodded? Behold, the pale criminal 
has nodded: out of his eyes speaks the great contempt. 

"My ego is something that shall be overcome: my 


ego is to me the great contempt of man," that is what 

his eyes say. 

That he judged himself, that was his highest mo- 
ment; do not let the sublime return to his basenessl 
There is no redemption for one who suffers so of him- 
self, except a quick death. 

Your killing, O judges, shall be pity and not re- 
venge. And as you kill, be sure that you yourselves 
justify life! It is not enough to make your peace with 
the man you kill. Your sadness shall be love of the 
overman: thus you shall justify your living on. 

"Enemy" you shall say, but not "villain"; "sick" you 
shall say, but not "scoundrel"; "fool" you shall say, but 
not "sinner." 

And you, red judge, if you were to tell out loud all 
that you have already done in thought, everyone would 
cry, "Away with this filth and this poisonous worm!" 

But thought is one thing, the deed is another, and 
the image of the deed still another: the wheel of 
causality does not roll between them. 

An image made this pale man pale. He was equal to 
his deed when he did it; but he could not bear its 
image after it was done. Now he always saw himself 
as the doer of one deed. Madness I call this: the ex- 
ception now became the essence for him. A chalk 
streak stops a hen; the stroke that he himself struck 
stopped his poor reason: madness after the deed I call 

Listen, O judges: there is yet another madness, and 
that comes before the deed. Alas, you have not yet 
crept deep enough into this soul. 

Thus speaks the red judge, "Why did this criminal 
murder? He wanted to rob." But I say unto you: his 
soul wanted blood, not robbery; he thirsted after the 

bliss of the knife. His poor reason, however, did not 
comprehend this madness and persuaded him: "What 
matters blood?" it asked; "don't you want at least to 
commit a robbery with it? To take revenge?" And he 
listened to his poor reason: its speech lay upon him like 
lead; so he robbed when he murdered. He did not 
want to be ashamed of his madness. 

And now the lead of his guilt lies upon him, and 
again his poor reason is so stiff, so paralyzed, so heavy. 
If only he could shake his head, then his burden would 
roll off: but who could shake this head? 

What is this man? A heap of diseases, which, through 
his spirit, reach out into the world: there they want 
to catch their prey. 

What is this man? A ball of wild snakes, which rarely 
enjoy rest from each other: so they go forth singly and 
seek prey in the world. 

Behold this poor bodyl What it suffered and coveted 
this poor soul interpreted for itself: it interpreted it as 
murderous lust and greed for the bliss of the knife. 

Those who become sick today are overcome by that 
evil which is evil today: they want to hurt with that 
which hurts them. But there have been other ages and 
another evil and good. Once doubt was evil and the will 
to self. Then the sick became heretics or witches: as 
heretics or witches they suffered and wanted to inflict 

But your ears do not want to accept this: it harms 
your good people, you say to me. But what matter 
your good people to me? Much about your good people 
nauseates me; and verily, it is not their evil. Indeed, I 
wish they had a madness of which they might perish 
like this pale criminal. 

Verily, I wish their madness were called truth or 


loyalty or justice: but they have their virtue in order 

to live long and in wretched contentment. 

I am a railing by the torrent: let those who can, 
grasp mel Your crutch, however, I am not. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Of all that is written I love only what a man has 
written with his blood. Write with blood, and you 
will experience that blood is spirit. 

It is not easily possible to understand the blood of 
another: I hate reading idlers. Whoever knows the 
reader will henceforth do nothing for the reader. An- 
other century of readers — and the spirit itself will 

That everyone may leam to read, in the long run 
corrupts not only writing but also thinking. Once the 
spirit was God, then he became man, and now he even 
becomes rabble. 

Whoever writes in blood and aphorisms does not 
want to be read but to be learned by heart. In the 
mountains the shortest way is from peak to peak: but 
for that one must have long legs. Aphorisms should be 
peaks — and those who are addressed, tall and lofty. 
The air thin and pure, danger near, and the spirit full 
of gay sarcasm: these go well together. I want to have 
goblins around me, for I am courageous. Courage that 
puts ghosts to flight creates goblins for itself: courage 
wants to laugh. 

I no longer feel as you do: this cloud which I see 
beneath me, this blackness and gravity at which I 
laugh — this is your thundercloud. 

You look up when you feel the need for elevation. 
And I look down because I am elevated. Who among 

you can laugh and be elevated at the same time? Who- 
ever climbs the highest mountains laughs at all tragic 
plays and tragic seriousness. 

Brave, unconcerned, mocking, violent — thus wisdom 
wants us: she is a woman and always loves only a 

You say to me, "Life is hard to bear." But why 
would you have your pride in the morning and your 
resignation in the evening? Life is hard to bear; but do 
not act so tenderly! We are all of us fair beasts of 
burden, male and female asses. What do we have in 
common with the rosebud, which trembles because a 
drop of dew lies on it? 

True, we love life, not because we are used to living 
but because we are used to loving. There is always 
some madness in love. But there is also always some 
reason in madness. 

And to me too, as I am well disposed toward life, 
butterflies and soap bubbles and whatever among men 
is of their kind seem to know most about happiness. 
Seeing these light, foolish, delicate, mobile little souls 
flutter — that seduces Zarathustra to tears and songs. 

I would believe only in a god who could dance. And 
when I saw my devil I found him serious, thorough, 
profound, and solemn: it was the spirit of gravity — 
through him all things fall. 

Not by wrath does one kill but by laughter. Come, 
let us kill the spirit of gravity! 

I have learned to walk: ever since, I let myself run. 
I have learned to fly: ever since, I do not want to be 
pushed before moving along. 

Now I am light, now I fly, now I see myself beneath 
myself, now a god dances through me. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 



Zarathustra's eye had noted that a youth avoided 
him. And one evening as he walked alone through the 
mountains surrounding the town which is called The 
Motley Cow — behold, on his walk he found this youth 
as he sat leaning against a tree, looking wearily into 
the valley. Zarathustra gripped the tree under which the 
youth was sitting and spoke thus: 

"If I wanted to shake this tree with my hands I 
should not be able to do it. But the wind, which we 
do not see, tortures and bends it in whatever direction 
it pleases. It is by invisible hands that we are bent and 
tortured worst." 

Then the youth got up in consternation and said: "I 
hear Zarathustra, and just now I was thinking of him." 

Zarathustra replied: "Why should that frighten you? 
But it is with man as it is with the tree. The more he 
aspires to the height and light, the more strongly do 
his roots strive earthward, downward, into the dark, 
the deep— into evil." 

"Yes, into evil!" cried the youth. "How is it possible 
that you discovered my soul?" 

Zarathustra smiled and said: "Some souls one will 
never discover, unless one invents them first." 

"Yes, into evil!" the youth cried once more. "You 
have spoken the truth, Zarathustra. I no longer trust 
myself since I aspire to the height, and nobody trusts 
me any more; how did this happen? I change too fast: 
my today refutes my yesterday. I often skip steps when 
I climb: no step forgives me that. When I am at the 
top I always find myself alone. Nobody speaks to me; 
the frost of loneliness makes me shiver. What do I 

want up high? My contempt and my longing grow at 
the same time; the higher I climb, the more I despise 
the climber. What does he want up high? How ashamed 
I am of my climbing and stumbling! How I mock at 
my violent pantingl How I hate the flier! How weary 
I am up high!" 

Here the youth stopped. And Zarathustra contem- 
plated the tree beside which they stood and spoke thus: 
"This tree stands lonely here in the mountains; it grew 
high above man and beast. And if it wanted to speak 
it would have nobody who could understand it, so 
high has it grown. Now it waits and waits — for what 
is it waiting? It dwells too near the seat of the clouds: 
surely, it waits for the first lightning." 

When Zarathustra had said this the youth cried with 
violent gestures: "Yes, Zarathustra, you are speaking 
the truth. I longed to go under when I aspired to the 
height, and you are the lightning for which I waited. 
Behold, what am I, now that you have appeared 
among us? It is the envy of you that has destroyed me." 
Thus spoke the youth, and he wept bitterly. But Zara- 
thustra put his arm around him and led him away. 

And when they had walked together for a while, 
Zarathustra began to speak thus: "It tears my heart. 
Better than your words tell it, your eyes tell me of 
all your dangers. You are not yet free, you still search 
for freedom. You are worn from your search and over- 
awake. You aspire to the free heights, your soul thirsts 
for the stars. But your wicked instincts, too, thirst for 
freedom. Your wild dogs want freedom; they bark with 
joy in their cellar when your spirit plans to open all 
prisons. To me you are still a prisoner who is plotting 
his freedom: alas, in such prisoners the soul becomes 
clever, but also deceitful and bad. And Bven the liber- 


ated spirit must still purify himself. Much prison and 
mustiness still remain in him: his eyes must still be- 
come pure. 

"Indeed, I know your danger. But by my love and hope 
I beseech you: do not throw away your love and hope. 

"You still feel noble, and the others too feel your 
nobility, though they bear you a grudge and send you 
evil glances. Know that the noble man stands in every- 
body's way. The noble man stands in the way of the 
good too: and even if they call him one of the good, 
they thus want to do away with him. The noble man 
wants to create something new and a new virtue. The 
good want the old, and that the old be preserved. But 
this is not the danger of the noble man, that he might 
become one of the good, but a churl, a mocker, a 

"Alas, I knew noble men who lost their highest hope. 
Then they slandered all high hopes. Then they lived 
impudently in brief pleasures and barely cast their goals 
beyond the day. Spirit too is lust, so they said. Then 
the wings of their spirit broke: and now their spirit 
crawls about and soils what it gnaws. Once they thought 
of becoming heroes: now they are voluptuaries. The 
hero is for them an offense and a fright. 

"But by my love and hope I beseech you: do not 
throw away the hero in your soull Hold holy your high- 
est hopel" 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


There are preachers of death; and the earth is full 
of those to whom one must preach renunciation of life. 
The earth is full of the superfluous; life is spoiled by 
the all-too-many. May they be lured from this life with 


the "eternal life"l Yellow the preachers of death wear, 
or black. But I want to show them to you in still 
other colors. 

There are the terrible ones who carry around within 
themselves the beast of prey and have no choice but 
lust or self-laceration. And even their lust is still self- 
laceration. They have not even become human beings 
yet, these terrible ones: let them preach renunciation 
of life and pass away themselvesl 

There are those with consumption of the soul: hardly 
are they bom when they begin to die and to long for 
doctrines of weariness and renunciation. They would 
like to be dead, and we should welcome their wish. Let 
us beware of waking the dead and disturbing these 
living coffins! 

They encounter a sick man or an old man or a 
corpse, and immediately they say, "Life is refuted." 
But only they themselves are refuted, and their eyes, 
which see only this one face of existence. Shrouded in 
thick melancholy and eager for the little accidents that 
bring death, thus they wait with clenched teeth. Or 
they reach for sweets while mocking their own childish- 
ness; they clutch the straw of their life and mock that 
they still clutch a .straw. Their wisdom says, "A fool 
who stays alive — but such fools are we. And this is 
surely the most foolish thing about life." 

"Life is only suffering," others say, and do not lie: 
see to it, then, that you ceasel See to it, then, that the 
life which is only suffering ceasesl 

And let this be the doctrine of your virtue: "Thou 
shalt kill thyself 1 Thou shalt steal away!" 

"Lust is sin," says one group that preaches death; 
"let us step aside and beget no children." 

"Giving birth is troublesome," says another group; 
"why go on giving birth? One bears only unfortunates 1" 


And they too are preachers of death. 

"Pity is needed," says the third group. "Take from 
me what I havel Take from me what I ami Life will bind 
me that much lessl" 

If they were full of pity through and through, they 
would make life insufferable for their neighbors. To 
be evil, that would be their real goodness. But they 
want to get out of life: what do they care that with 
their chains and presents they bind others still more 

And you, too, for whom life is furious work and 
unrest — are you not very weary of life? Are you not 
very ripe for the preaching of death? All of you to 
whom furious work is dear, and whatever is fast, new, 
and strange — you find it hard to bear yourselves; your 
industry is escape and the will to forget yourselves. If 
you believed more in life you would fling yourselves 
less to the moment. But you do not have contents 
enough in yourselves for waiting — and not even for 

Everywhere the voice of those who preach death is 
heard; and the earth is full of those to whom one must 
preach death. Or "eternal life" — that is the same to 
me, if only they pass away quickly. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


We do not want to be spared by our best enemies, 
nor by those whom we love thoroughly. So let me tell 
you the truth! 

My brothers in war, I love you thoroughly; I am and 
I was of your kind. And I am also your best enemy. So 
let me tell you the truthl 

I know of the hatred and envy of your hearts. You 

are not great enough not to know hatred and envy. Be 
great enough, then, not to be ashamed of them. 

And if you cannot be saints of knowledge, at least 
be its warriors. They are the companions and fore- 
runners of such sainthood. 

I see many soldiers: would that I saw many warriorsl 
"Uniform" one calls what they wear: would that what 
it conceals were not uniforml 

You should have eyes that always seek an enemy— 
your enemy. And some of you hate at first sight. Your 
enemy you shall seek, your war you shall wage — for 
your thoughts. And if your thought be vanquished, then 
your honesty should still find cause for triumph in that. 
You should love peace as a means to new wars — and 
the short peace more than the long. To you I do not 
recommend work but struggle. To you I do not recom- 
mend peace but victory. Let your work be a struggle. 
Let your peace be a victoryl One can be silent and 
sit still only when one has bow and arrow: else one 
chatters and quarrels. Let your peace be a victoryl 

You say it is the good cause that hallows even war? 
I say unto you: it is the good war that hallows any 
cause. War and courage have accomplished more great 
things than love of the neighbor. Not your pity but 
your courage has so far saved the unfortunate. 

"What is good?" you ask. To be brave is good. Let 
the little girls say, "To be good is what is at the same 
time pretty and touching." 

They call you heartless: but you have a heart, and I 
love you for being ashamed to show it. You are ashamed 
of your flood, while others are ashamed of their ebb. 

You are ugly? Well then, my brothers, wrap the 
sublime around you, the cloak of the ugly. And when 
your soul becomes great, then it becomes prankish; and 
in your sublimity there is sarcasm. I know you. 


In sarcasm the prankster and the weakling meet. But 

they misunderstand each other. I know you. 

You may have only enemies whom you can hate, not 

enemies you despise. You must be proud of your enemy: 

then the successes of your enemy are your successes 


Recalcitrance — that is the nobility of slaves. Your 
nobility should be obedience. Your very commanding 
should be an obeying. To a good warrior "thou shalt" 
sounds more agreeable than "I will." And everything 
you like you should first let yourself be commanded to 

Your love of life shall be love of your highest hope; 
and your highest hope shall be the highest thought of 
life. Your highest thought, however, you should receive 
as a command from me — and it is: man is something 
that shall be overcome. 

Thus live your life of obedience and war. What 
matters long life? What warrior wants to be spared? 

I do not spare you; I love you thoroughly, my 
brothers in warl 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Somewhere there are still peoples and herds, but not 
where we live, my brothers: here there are states. 
State? What is that? Well then, open your ears to me, 
for now I shall speak to you about the death of peoples. 

State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. 
Coldly it tells lies too; and this lie crawls out of its 
mouth: "I, the state, am the people." That is a liel It 
was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and 
a love over them: thus they served life. 


It is annihilators who set traps for the many and 
call them "state": they hang a sword and a hundred 
appetites over them. 

Where there is still a people, it does not understand 
the state and hates it as the evil eye and the sin 
against customs and rights. 

This sign I give you: every people speaks its tongue 
of good and evil, which the neighbor does not under- 
stand. It has invented its own language of customs and 
rights. But the state tells lies in all the tongues of 
good and evil; and whatever it says it lies — and what- 
ever it has it has stolen. Everything about it is false; 
it bites with stolen teeth, and bites easily. Even its 
entrails are false. Confusion of tongues of good and 
evil: this sign I give you as the sign of the state. Verily, 
this sign signifies the will to death. Verily, it beckons 
to the preachers of death. 

All-too-many are bom: for the superfluous the state 
was invented. 

Behold, how it lures them, the all-too-many — and 
how it devours them, chews them, and ruminatesl 

"On earth there is nothing greater than I: the order- 
ing finger of God am I" — thus roars the monster. And 
it is not only the long-eared and shortsighted who sink 
to their knees. Alas, to you too, you great souls, it 
whispers its dark lies. Alas, it detects the rich hearts 
which like to squander themselves. Indeed, it detects 
you too, you vanquishers of the old god. You have 
grown weary with fighting, and now your weariness 
still serves the new idol. With heroes and honorable 
men it would surround itself, the new idoll It likes to 
bask in the sunshine of good consciences — the cold 

It will give you everything if you will adore it, this 


new idol: thus it buys the splendor of your virtues 
and the look of your proud eyes. It would use you as 
bait for the all-too-many. 

Indeed, a hellish artifice was invented there, a horse 
of death, clattering in the finery of divine honors. In- 
deed, a dying for many was invented there, which 
praises itself as life: verily, a great service to all preach- 
ers of deathl 

State I call it where all drink poison, the good and 
the wicked; state, where all lose themselves, the good 
and the wicked; state, where the slow suicide of all is 
called "life." 

Behold the superfluous! They steal the works of the 
inventors and the treasures of the sages for themselves; 
"education" they call their theft — and everything turns 
to sickness and misfortune for them. 

Behold the superfluous! They are always sick; they 
vomit their gall and call it a newspaper. They devour 
each other and cannot even digest themselves. 

Behold the superfluous! They gather riches and be- 
come poorer with them. They want power and first 
the lever of power, much money — the impotent pau- 

Watch them clamber, these swift monkeys! They 
clamber over one another and thus drag one another 
into the mud and the depth. They all want to get to 
the throne: that is their madness — as if happiness sat 
on the throne. Often mud sits on the throne — and often 
also the throne on mud. Mad they all appear to me, 
clambering monkeys and overardent. Foul smells their 
idol, the cold monster: foul they smell to me altogether, 
these idolators. 

My brothers, do you want to suffocate in the fumes 
of their snouts and appetites? Rather break the win- 
dows and leap to freedom. 


Escape from the bad smell! Escape from the idolatry 
of the superfluous! 

Escape from the bad smell! Escape from the steam 
of these human sacrifices! 

The earth is free even now for great souls. There 
are still many empty seats for the lonesome and the 
twosome, fanned by the fragrance of silent seas. 

A free life is still free for great souls. Verily, who- 
ever possesses little is possessed that much less: praised 
be a little poverty! 

Only where the state ends, there begins the human 
being who is not superfluous: there begins the song 
of necessity, the unique and inimitable tune. 

Where the state ends — look there, my brothers! Do 
you not see it, the rainbow and the bridges of the over- 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Flee, my friend, into your solitude! I see you dazed 
by the noise of the great men and stung all over by 
the stings of the little men. Woods and crags know 
how to keep a dignified silence with you. Be like the 
tree that you love with its wide branches: silently 
listening, it hangs over the sea. 

Where solitude ceases the market place begins; and 
where the market place begins the noise of the great 
actors and the buzzing of the poisonous flies begins too. 

In the world even the best things amount to nothing 
without someone to make a show of them: great men 
the people call these showmen. 

Little do the people comprehend the great — that is, 
the creating. But they have a mind for all showmen 
and actors of great things. 


Around the inventors of new values the world re- 
volves: invisibly it revolves. But around the actors 
revolve the people and fame: that is "the way of the 

The actor has spirit but little conscience of the 
spirit. Always he has faith in that with which he in- 
spires the most faith-r-faith in himself. Tomorrow he 
has a new faith, and the day after tomorrow a newer 
one. He has quick senses, like the people, and capri- 
cious moods. To overthrow — that means to him: to 
prove. To drive to frenzy — that means to him: to per- 
suade. And blood is to him the best of all reasons. A 
truth that slips into delicate ears alone he calls a lie 
and nothing. Verily, he believes only in gods who make 
a big noise in the world! 

Full of solemn jesters is the market place — and the 
people pride themselves on their great men, their mas- 
ters of the hour. But the hour presses them; so they 
press you. And from you too they want a Yes or No. 
Alas, do you want to place your chair between pro and 

Do not be jealous of these unconditional, pressing 
men, you lover of truth! Never yet has truth hung on 
the arm of the unconditional. On account of these 
sudden men, go back to your security: it is only in 
the market place that one is assaulted with Yes? or No? 
Slow is the experience of all deep wells: long must 
they wait before they know wliat fell into their depth. 

Far from the market place and from fame happens 
all that is great: far from the market place and from 
fame the inventors of new values have always dwelt. 

Flee, my friend, into your solitude: I see you stung 
all over by poisonous flies. Flee where the air is raw 
and strong. 

Flee into your solitude! You have lived too close to 

the small and the miserable. Flee their invisible re- 
venge! Against you they are nothing but revenge. 

No longer raise up your arm against them. Number- 
less are they, and it is not your lot to shoo flies. 
Numberless are these small and miserable creatures; 
and many a proud building has perished of raindrops 
and weeds. You are no stone, but you have already 
become hollow from many drops. You will yet burst 
from many drops. I see you wearied by poisonous flies, 
bloody in a hundred places; and your pride refuses 
even to be angry. Blood is what they want from you in 
all innocence. Their bloodless souls crave blood, and 
so they sting in all innocence. But you, you deep one, 
suffer too deeply even from small wounds; and even 
before you have healed, the same poisonous worm 
crawls over your hand. You are too proud to kill these 
greedy creatures. But beware lest it become your down- 
fall that you suffer all their poisonous injustice. 

They hum around you with their praise too: obtru- 
siveness is their praise. They want the proximity of 
your skin and your blood. They flatter you as a god or 
devil; they whine before you as before a god or devil. 
What does it matter? They are flatterers and whiners 
and nothing more. 

Often they affect charm. But that has always been 
the cleverness of cowards. Indeed, cowards are cleverl 
They think a lot about you with their petty souls — 
you always seem problematic to them. Everything that 
one thinks about a lot becomes problematic. 

They punish you for all your virtues. They forgive 
you entirely — your mistakes. 

Because you are gentle and just in disposition you 
say, 'They are guiltless in their small existence." But 
their petty souls think, "Guilt is every great existence." 

Even when you are gentle to them they still feel 


despised by you: and they return your benefaction with 
hidden malefactions. Your silent pride always runs 
counter to their taste; they are jubilant if for once you 
are modest enough to be vain. That which we recog- 
nize in a person we also inflame in him: therefore, be- 
ware of the small creatures. Before you they feel small, 
and their baseness glimmers and glows in invisible re- 
venge. Have you not noticed how often they became 
mute when you stepped among them, and how their 
strength went from them like smoke from a dying fire? 

Indeed, my friend, you are the bad conscience of 
your neighbors: for they are unworthy of you. They 
hate you, therefore, and would like to suck your blood. 
Your neighbors will always be poisonous flies; that 
which is great in you, just that must make them more 
poisonous and more like flies. 

Flee, my friend, into your solitude and where the 
air is raw and strong! It is not your lot to shoo flies. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


I love the forest. It is bad to live in cities: there too 
many are in heat. Is it not better to fall into the hands 
of a murderer than into the dreams of a woman in heat? 
And behold these men: their eyes say it — they know 
of nothing better on earth than to lie with a woman. 
Mud is at the bottom of their souls; and woe if their 
mud also has spirit! 

Would that you were as perfect as animals at least! 
But animals have innocence. 

Do I counsel you to slay your senses? I counsel the 
innocence of the senses. 

Do I counsel you to chastity? Chastity is a virtue in 
some, but almost a vice in many. They abstain, but 

the bitch, sensuality, leers enviously out of every- 
thing they do. Even to the heights of their virtue and 
to the cold regions of the spirit this beast follows them 
with her lack of peace. And how nicely the bitch, 
sensuality, knows how to beg for a piece of spirit 
when denied a piece of meat. 

Do you love tragedies and everything that breaks 
the heart? But I mistrust your bitch. Your eyes are 
too cruel and you search lustfully for sufferers. Is it 
not merely your lust that has disguised itself and now 
calls itself pity? 

And this parable too I offer you: not a few who 
wanted to drive out their devil have themselves entered 
into swine. 

Those for whom chastity is difficult should be coun- 
seled against it, lest it become their road to hell — the 
mud and heat of their souls. 

Do I speak of dirty things? That is not the worst 
that could happen. It is not when truth is dirty, but 
when it is shallow, that the lover of knowledge is re- 
luctant to step into its waters. Verily, some are chaste 
through and through: they are gentler of heart, fonder 
of laughter, and laugh more than you. They laugh at 
chastity too and ask, "What is chastity? Is chastity not 
folly? Yet this folly came to us, not we to it. We 
offered this guest hostel and heart: now it dwells with 
us — may it stay as long as it willl" 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


"There is always one too many around me" — thus 
thinks the hermit. "Always one times one — eventually 
that makes two." 

I and me are always too deep in conversation: how 


could one stand that if there were no friend? For the 
hermit the friend is always the third person: the third 
is the cork that prevents the conversation of the two 
from sinking into the depths. Alas, there are too many 
depths for all hermits; therefore they long so for a 
friend and his height. 

Our faith in others betrays in what respect we would 
like to have faith in ourselves. Our longing for a friend 
is our betrayer. And often love is only a device to over- 
come envy. And often one attacks and makes an enemy 
in order to conceal that one is open to attack. "At least 
be my enemy!" — thus speaks true reverence, which 
does not dare ask for friendship. 

If one wants to have a friend one must also want 
to wage war for him: and to wage war, one must be 
capable of being an enemy. 

In a friend one should still honor the enemy. Can 
you go close to your friend without going over to 

In a friend one should have one's best enemy. You 
should be closest to him with your heart when you 
resist him. 

You do not want to put on anything for your friend? 
Should it be an honor for your friend that you give 
yourself to him as you are? But he sends you to the 
devil for that. He who makes no secret of himself, 
enrages: so much reason have you for fearing naked- 
ness. Indeed, if you were gods, then you might be 
ashamed of your clothes. You cannot groom yourself 
too beautifully for your friend: for you shall be to him 
an arrow and a longing for the overman. 

Have you ever seen your friend asleep — and found 
out how he looks? What is the face of your friend any- 
way? It is your own face in a rough and imperfect 


Have you ever seen your friend asleep? Were you 
not shocked that you friend looks like that? O my 
friend, man is something that must be overcome. 

A friend should be a master at guessing and keep- 
ing still: you must not want to see everything. Your 
dream should betray to you what your friend does 
while awake. 

Your compassion should be a guess — to know first 
whether your friend wants compassion. Perhaps what 
he loves in you is the unbroken eye and the glance of 
eternity. Compassion for the friend should conceal it- 
self under a hard shell, and you should break a tooth 
on it. That way it will have delicacy and sweetness. 

Are you pure air and solitude and bread and medi- 
cine for your friend? Some cannot loosen their own 
chains and can nevertheless redeem their friends. 

Are you a slave? Then you cannot be a friend. Are 
you a tyrant? Then you cannot have friends. All-too- 
long have a slave and a tyrant been concealed in 
woman. Therefore woman is not yet capable of friend- 
ship: she knows only love. 

Woman's love involves injustice and blindness against 
everything that she does not love. And even in the 
knowing love of a woman there are still assault and 
lightning and night alongside light. 

Woman is not yet capable of friendship: women are 
still cats and birds. Or at best, cows. 

Woman is not yet capable of friendship. But tell 
me, you men, who among you is capable of friendship? 

Alas, behold your poverty, you men, and the mean- 
ness of your souls! As much as you give the friend, I 
will give even my enemy, and I shall not be any the 
poorer for it. There is comradeship: let there be friend- 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 



Zarathustra saw many lands and many peoples: thus 
he discovered the good and evil of many peoples. And 
Zarathustra found no greater power on earth than good 
and evil. 

No people could live without first esteeming; but if 
they want to preserve themselves, then they must not 
esteem as the neighbor esteems. Much that was good to 
one people was scom and infamy to another: thus I 
found it. Much I found called evil here, and decked 
out with purple honors there. Never did one neighbor 
understand the other: ever was his soul amazed at the 
neighbor's delusion and wickedness. 

A tablet of the good hangs over every people. Be- 
hold, it is the tablet of their overcomings; behold, it 
is the voice of their will to power. 

Praiseworthy is whatever seems difficult to a people; 
whatever seems indispensable and difficult is called 
good; and whatever liberates even out of the deepest 
need, the rarest, the most difficult — that they call holy. 

Whatever makes them rule and triumph and shine, 
to the awe and envy of their neighbors, that is to them 
the high, the first, the measure, the meaning of all 

Verily, my brother, once you have recognized the 
need and land and sky and neighbor of a people, you 
may also guess the law of their overcomings, and why 
they climb to their hope on this ladder. 

"You shall always be the first and excel all others: 
your jealous soul shall love no one, unless it be the 
friend" — that made the soul of the Greek quiver: thus 
he walked the path of his greatness. 


"To speak the truth and to handle bow and arrow 
well" — that seemed both dear and difficult to the 
people who gave me my name — the name which is 
both dear and difficult to me. 

"To honor father and mother and to follow their 
will to the root of one's soul" — this was the tablet of 
overcoming that another people hung up over them- 
selves and became powerful and eternal thereby. 

"To practice loyalty and, for the sake of loyalty, to 
risk honor and blood even for evil and dangerous 
things" — with this teaching another people conquered 
themselves; and through this self-conquest they became 
pregnant and heavy with great hopes. 

Verily, men gave themselves all their good and evil. 
Verily, they did not take it, they did not find it, nor 
did it come to them as a voice from heaven. Only 
man placed values in things to preserve himself — he 
alone created a meaning for things, a human meaning. 
Therefore he calls himself "man," which means: the 

To esteem is to create: hear this, you creators! Es- 
teeming itself is of all esteemed things the most esti- 
mable treasure. Through esteeming alone is there value: 
and without esteeming, the nut of existence would 
be hollow. Hear this, you creators! 

Change of values — that is a change of creators. Who- 
ever must be a creator always annihilates. 

First, peoples were creators; and only in later times, 
individuals. Verily, the individual himself is still the 
most recent creation. 

Once peoples hung a tablet of the good over them- 
selves. Love which would rule and love which would 
obey have together created such tablets. 

The delight in the herd is more ancient than the 


delight in the ego; and as long as the good conscience 
is identified with the herd, only the bad conscience 
says: I. 

Verily, the clever ego, the loveless ego that desires 
its own profit in the profit of the many — that is not 
the origin of the herd, but its going under. 

Good and evil have always been created by lovers 
and creators. The fire of love glows in the names of 
all the virtues, and the fire of wrath. 

Zarathustra saw many lands and many peoples. No 
greater power did Zarathustra find on earth than the 
works of the lovers: "good" and "evil" are their names. 

Verily, a monster is the power of this praising and 
censuring. Tell me, who will conquer it, O brothers? 
Tell me, who will throw a yoke over the thousand 
necks of this beast? 

A thousand goals have there been so far, for there 
have been a thousand peoples. Only the yoke for the 
thousand necks is still lacking: the one goal is lacking. 
Humanity still has no goal. 

But tell me, my brothers, if humanity still lacks a 
goal — is humanity itself not still lacking too? 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


You crowd around your neighbor and have fine 
words for it. But I say unto you: your love of the 
neighbor is your bad love of yourselves. You flee to 
your neighbor from yourselves and would like to make 
a virtue out of that: but I see through your "selfless- 

The you is older than the I; the you has been pro- 
nounced holy, but not yet the I: so man crowds toward 
his neighbor. 


Do I recommend love of the neighbor to you? 
Sooner I should even recommend flight from the neigh- 
bor and love of the farthest. Higher than love of the 
neighbor is love of the farthest and the future; higher 
yet than the love of human beings I esteem the love 
of things and ghosts. This ghost that runs after you, 
my brother, is more beautiful than you; why do you 
not give him your flesh and your bones? But you are 
afraid and run to your neighbor. 

You cannot endure yourselves and do not love your- 
selves enough: now you want to seduce your neighbor 
to love, and then gild yourselves with his error. Would 
that you could not endure all sorts of neighbors and 
their neighbors; then you would have to create your 
friend and his overflowing heart out of yourselves. 

You invite a witness when you want to speak well 
of yourselves; and when you have seduced him to think 
well of you, then you think well of yourselves. 

Not only are they liars who speak when they know 
better, but even more those who speak when they 
know nothing. And thus you speak of yourselves to 
others and deceive the neighbor with yourselves. 

Thus speaks the fool: "Association with other people 
corrupts one's character — especially if one has none." 

One man goes to his neighbor because he seeks him- 
self; another because he would lose himself. Your bad 
love of yourselves turns your solitude into a prison. It 
is those farther away who must pay for your love of 
your neighbor; and even if five of you are together, 
there is always a sixth who must die. 

I do not love your festivals either: I found too many 
actors there, and the spectators, too, often behaved 
like actors. 

I teach you not the neighbor, but the friend. The 
friend should be the festival of the earth to you and 


an anticipation of the overman. I teach you the friend 
and his overflowing heart. But one must learn to be a 
sponge if one wants to be loved by hearts that over- 
flow. I teach you the friend in whom the world stands 
completed, a bowl of goodness — the creating friend 
who always has a completed world to give away. 
And as the world rolled apart for him, it rolls together 
again in circles for him, as the becoming of the good 
through evil, a*s the becoming of purpose out of acci- 

Let the future and the farthest be for you the cause 
of your today: in your friend you shall love the over- 
man as your cause. 

My brothers, love of the neighbor I do not recom- 
mend to you: I recommend to you love of the farthest. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Is it your wish, my brother, to go into solitude? Is 
it your wish to seek the way to yourself? Then linger 
a moment, and listen to me. 

"He who seeks, easily gets lost. All loneliness is 
guilt" — thus speaks the herd. And you have long be- 
longed to the herd. The voice of the herd will still be 
audible in you. And when you will say, "I no longer 
have a common conscience with you," it will be a 
lament and an agony. Behold, this agony itself was 
bom of the common conscience, and the last glimmer 
of that conscience still glows on your affliction. 

But do you want to go the way of your affliction, 
which is the way to yourself? Then show me your right 
and your strength to do so. Are you a new strength 
and a new right? A first movement? A self-propelled 

wheel? Can you compel the very stars to revolve 
around you? 

Alas, there is so much lusting for the heights! There 
are so many convulsions of the ambitious. Show me 
that you are not one of the lustful and ambitious. 

Alas, there are so many great thoughts which do 
no more than a bellows: they puff up and make emptier. 

You call yourself free? Your dominant thought I 
want to hear, and not that you have escaped from a 
yoke. Are you one of those who had the right to escape 
from a yoke? There are some who threw away their 
last value when they threw away their servitude. 

Free from what? As if that mattered to Zarathustral 
But your eyes should tell me brightly: free for what? 

Can you give yourself your own evil and your own 
good and hang your own will over yourself as a law? 
Can you be your own judge and avenger of your law? 
Terrible it is to be alone with the judge and avenger 
of one's own law. Thus is a star thrown out into the 
void and into the icy breath of solitude. Today you 
are still suffering from the many, being one: today 
your courage and your hopes are still whole. But the 
time will come when solitude will make you weary, 
when your pride will double up and your courage 
gnash its teeth. And you will cry, "I am alone!" The 
time will come when that which seems high to you 
will no longer be in sight, and that which seems low will 
be all-too-near; even what seems sublime to you will 
frighten you like a ghost. And you will cry, "All is 

There are feelings which want to kill the lonely; and 
if they do not succeed, well, then they themselves 
must die. But are you capable of this — to be a mur- 


My brother, do you know the word "contempt" yet? 
And the agony of your justice — being just to those who 
despise you? You force many to releam about you; 
they charge it bitterly against you. You came close to 
them and yet passed by: that they will never forgive. 
You pass over and beyond them: but the higher you 
ascend, the smaller you appear to the eye of envy. But 
most of all they hate those who fly. 

"How would ycu be just to me?" you must say. "I 
choose your injustice as my proper lot." Injustice and 
filth they throw after the lonely one: but, my brother, 
if you would be a star, you must not shine less for 
them because of that. 

And beware of the good and the justl They like to 
crucify those who invent their own virtue for them- 
selves — they hate the lonely one. Beware also of holy 
simplicity] Everything that is not simple it considers 
unholy; it also likes to play with fire — the stake. And 
beware also of the attacks of your lovel The lonely 
one offers his hand too quickly to whomever he en- 
counters. To some people you may not give your hand, 
only a paw: and I desire that your paw should also 
have claws. 

But the worst enemy you can encounter will always 
be you, yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caves 
and woods. 

Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself. And 
your way leads past yourself and your seven devils. 
You will be a heretic to yourself and a witch and 
soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and a 
villain. You must wish to consume yourself in your 
own flame: how could you wish to become new unless 
you had first become ashesl 

Lonely one, you are going the way of the creator: 

you would create a god for yourself out of your seven 

Lonely one, you are going the way of the lover: 
yourself you love, and therefore you despise yourself, 
as only lovers despise. The lover would create because 
he despises. What does he know of love who did not 
have to despise precisely what he loved! 

Go into your loneliness with your love and with 
your creation, my brother; and only much later will 
justice limp after you. 

With my tears go into your loneliness, my brother. I 
love him who wants to create over and beyond him- 
self and thus perishes. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


"Why do you steal so cautiously through the twi- 
light, Zarathustra? And what do you conceal so care- 
fully under your coat? Is it a treasure you have been 
given? or a child bom to you? Or do you yourself now 
follow the ways of thieves, you friend of those who are 

"Verily, my brother," said Zarathustra, "it is a treasure 
I have been given: it is a little truth that I carry. But 
it is troublesome like a young child, and if I don't hold 
my hand over its mouth, it will cry overloudly. 

"When I went on my way today, alone, at the hour 
when the sun goes down, I met a little old woman who 
spoke thus to my soul: 'Much has Zarathustra spoken 
to us women too; but never did he speak to us about 
woman.' And I answered her: 'About woman one 
should speak only to men.' Then she said: 'Speak to 
me too of woman; I am old enough to forget it im- 


mediately.' And I obliged the little old woman and I 
spoke to her thus: 

"Everything about woman is a riddle, and every- 
thing about woman has one solution: that is pregnancy. 
Man is for woman a means: the end is always the 
child. But what is woman for man? 

"A real man wants two things: danger and play. 
Therefore he wants woman as the most dangerous 
plaything. Man should be educated for war, and 
woman for the recreation of the warrior; all else is 
folly. The warrior does not like all-too-sweet fruit; 
therefore he likes woman: even the sweetest woman is 
bitter. Woman understands children better than man 
does, but man is more childlike than woman. 

"In a real man a child is hidden — and wants to 
play. Go to it, women, discover the child in manl Let 
woman be a plaything, pure and fine, like a gem, 
irradiated by the virtues of a world that has not yet 
arrived. Let the radiance of a star shine through your 
lovel Let your hope be: May I give birth to the over- 

"Let there be courage in your love! With your love 
you should proceed toward him who arouses fear in 
you. Let your honor be in your love! Little does woman 
understand of honor otherwise. But let this be your 
honor: always to love more than you are loved, and 
never to be second. 

"Let man fear woman when she loves: then she 
makes any sacrifice, and everything else seems without 
value to her. Let man fear woman when she hates: for 
deep down in his soul man is merely evil, while 
woman is bad. Whom does woman hate most? Thus 
spoke the iron to the magnet: 'I hate you most because 
you attract, but are not strong enough to pull me to 


"The happiness of man is: I will. The happiness of 
woman is: he wills. 'Behold, just now the world be- 
came perfectl' — thus thinks every woman when she 
obeys out of entire love. And woman must obey and 
find a depth for her surface. Surface is the disposition 
of woman: a mobile, stormy film over shallow water. 
Man's disposition, however, is deep; his river roars in 
subterranean caves: woman feels his strength but does 
not comprehend it. 

"Then the little old woman answered me: 'Many 
fine things has Zarathustra said, especially for those 
who are young enough for them. It is strange: Zara- 
thustra knows women little, and yet he is right about 
them. Is this because nothing is impossible with 
woman? And now, as a token of gratitude, accept a 
little truth. After all, I am old enough for it. Wrap it 
up and hold your hand over its mouth: else it will cry 
overloudly, this little truth.' 

"Then I said: 'Woman, give me your little truth.' 
And thus spoke the little old woman: 

"'You are going to women? Do not forget the 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


One day Zarathustra had fallen asleep under a fig 
tree, for it was hot, and had put his arms over his face. 
And an adder came and bit him in the neck, so that 
Zarathustra cried out in pain. When he had taken his 
arm from his face, he looked at the snake, and it 
recognized the eyes of Zarathustra, writhed awkwardly, 
and wanted to get away. "Oh no," said Zarathustra, 
"as yet you have not accepted my thanks. You waked 
me in time, my way is still long." "Your way is short," 


the adder said sadly; "my poison kills." Zarathustra 
smiled. "When has a dragon ever died of the poison 
of a snake?" he said. "But take back your poison. You 
are not rich enough to give it to me." Then the adder 
fell around his neck a second time and licked his 

When Zarathustra once related this to his disciples 
they asked: "And what, O Zarathustra, is the moral of 
your story?" Then Zarathustra answered thus: 

The annihilator of morals, the good and just call me: 
my story is immoral. 

But if you have an enemy, do not requite him evil 
with good, for that would put him to shame. Rather 
prove that he did you some good. 

And rather be angry than put to shame. And if you 
are cursed, I do not like it that you want to bless. 
Rather join a little in the cursing. 

And if you have been done a great wrong, then 
quickly add five little ones: a gruesome sight is a 
person single-mindedly obsessed by a wrong. 

Did you already know this? A wrong shared is half 
right. And he who is able to bear it should take the 
wrong upon himself. 

A little revenge is more human than no revenge. 
And if punishment is not also a right and an honor for 
the transgressor, then I do not like your punishments 

It is nobler to declare oneself wrong than to insist 
on being right — especially when one is right. Only one 
must be rich enough for that. 

I do not like your cold justice; and out of the eyes 
of your judges there always looks the executioner and 
his cold steel. Tell me, where is that justice which is 
love with open eyes? Would that you might invent for 
me the love that bears not only all punishment but also 


all guilt! Would that you might invent for me the 
justice that acquits everyone, except him that judgesl 

Do you still want to hear this too? In him who 
would be just through and through even lies become 
kindness to others. But how could I think of being just 
through and through? How can I give each his own? 
Let this be sufficient for me: I give each my own. 

Finally, my brothers, beware of doing wrong to any 
hermit. How could a hermit forget? How could he re- 
pay? Like a deep well is a hermit. It is easy to throw 
in a stone; but if the stone sank to the bottom, tell me, 
who would get it out again? Beware of insulting the 
hermit. But if you have done so — well, then kill him 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


I have a question for you alone, my brother: like a 
sounding lead, I cast this question into your soul that 
I might know how deep it is. 

You are young and wish for a child and marriage. 
But I ask you: Are you a man entitled to wish for a 
child? Are you the victorious one, the self-conqueror, 
the commander of your senses, the master of your 
virtues? This I ask you. Or is it the animal and need 
that speak out of your wish? Or loneliness? Or lack of 
peace with yourself? 

Let your victory and your freedom long for a child. 
You shall build living monuments to your victory and 
your liberation. You shall build over and beyond your- 
self, but first you must be built yourself, perpendicular 
in body and soul. You shall not only reproduce your- 
self, but produce something higher. May the garden 
of marriage help you in that! 


You shall create a higher body, a first movement, a 
self-propelled wheel — you shall create a creator. 

Marriage: thus I name the will of two to create the 
one that is more than those who created it. Reverence 
for each other, as for those willing with such a will, is 
what I name marriage. Let this be the meaning and 
truth of your marriage. But that which the all-too- 
many, the superfluous, call marriage — alas, what shall 
I name that? Alas, this poverty of the soul in pairl 
Alas, this filth of the soul in pair! Alas, this wretched 
contentment in pair! Marriage they call this; and they 
say that their marriages are made in heaven. Well, I do 
not like it, this heaven of the superfluous. No, I do not 
like them — these animals entangled in the heavenly net. 
And let the god who limps near to bless what he never 
joined keep his distance from me! Do not laugh at such 
marriages! What child would not have cause to weep 
over its parents? 

Worthy I deemed this man, and ripe for the sense of 
the earth; but when I saw his wife, the earth seemed 
to me a house for the senseless. Indeed, I wished that 
the earth might tremble in convulsions when a saint 
mates with a goose. 

This one went out like a hero in quest of truths, and 
eventually he conquered a little dressed-up lie. His 
marriage he calls it. 

That one was reserved and chose choosily. But all at 
once he spoiled his company forever: his marriage he 
calls it. 

That one sought a maid with the virtues of an angel. 
But all at once he became the maid of a woman; and 
now he must turn himself into an angel. 

Careful I have found all buyers now, and all of them 
have cunning eyes. But even the most cunning still 
buys his wife in a poke. 

Many brief follies — that is what you call love. And 
your marriage concludes many brief follies, as a long 
stupidity. Your love of woman, and woman's love of 
man — oh, that it were compassion for suffering and 
shrouded gods! But, for the most part, two beasts find 
each other. 

But even your best love is merely an ecstatic parable 
and a painful ardor. It is a torch that should light up 
higher paths for you. Over and beyond yourselves you 
shall love one day. Thus learn first to love. And for that 
you had to drain the bitter cup of your love. Bitterness 
lies in the cup of even the best love: thus it arouses 
longing for the overman; thus it arouses your thirst, 
creator. Thirst for the creator, an arrow and longing 
for the overman: tell me, my brother, is this your will 
to marriage? Holy I call such a will and such a mar- 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Many die too late, and a few die too early. The 
doctrine still sounds strange: "Die at the right time!" 

Die at the right time — thus teaches Zarathustra. Of 
course, how could those who never live at the right time 
die at the right time? Would that they had never been 
born! Thus I counsel the superfluous. But even the 
superfluous still make a fuss about their dying; and 
even the hollowest nut still wants to be cracked. Every- 
body considers dying important; but as yet death is no 
festival. As yet men have not learned how one hallows 
the most beautiful festivals. 

I show you the death that consummates — a spur and 
a promise to the survivors. He that consummates his 
fife dies liis death victoriously, surrounded by those 


who hope and promise. Thus should one leam to die; 
and there should be no festival where one dying thus 
does not hallow the oaths of the living. 

To die thus is best; second to this, however, is to die 
fighting and to squander a great soul. But equally hate- 
ful to the fighter and the victor is your grinning death, 
which creeps up like a thief — and yet comes as the 

My death I praise to you, the free death which 
comes to me because 7 want it. And when shall I want 
it? He who has a goal and an heir will want death at 
the right time for his goal and heir. And from reverence 
for his goal and heir he will hang no more dry wreaths 
in the sanctuary of life. Verily, I do not want to be like 
the ropemakers: they drag out their threads and always 
walk backwards. 

Some become too old even for their truths and vic- 
tories: a toothless mouth no longer has the right to 
every truth. And everybody who wants fame must take 
leave of honor betimes and practice the difficult art of 
leaving at the right time. 

One must cease letting oneself be eaten when one 
tastes best: that is known to those who want to be 
loved long. There are sour apples, to be sure, whose lot 
requires that they wait till the last day of autumn: and 
they become ripe, yellow, and wrinkled all at once. In 
some, the heart grows old first; in others, the spirit. 
And some are old in their youth: but late youth pre- 
serves long youth. 

For some, life turns out badly: a poisonous worm eats 
its way to their heart. Let them see to it that their dy- 
ing turns out that much better. Some never become 
sweet; they rot already in the summer. It is cowardice 
that keeps them on their branch. 

All-too-many live, and all-too-long they hang on their 

branches. Would that a storm came to shake all this 
worm-eaten rot from the tree! 

Would that there came preachers of quick death! I 
would like them as the true storms and shakers of the 
trees of life. But I hear only slow death preached, and 
patience with everything "earthly." 

Alas, do you preach patience with the earthly? It is 
the earthly that has too much patience with you, blas- 

Verily, that Hebrew died too early whom the preach- 
ers of slow death honor; and for many it has become a 
calamity that he died too early. As yet he knew only 
tears and the melancholy of the Hebrew, and hatred of 
the good and the just — the Hebrew Jesus: then the 
longing for death overcame him. Would that he had 
remained in the wilderness and far from the good and 
the just! Perhaps he would have learned to live and to 
love the earth — and laughter too. 

Believe me, my brothers! He died too early; he him- 
self would have recanted his teaching, had he reached 
my age. Noble enough was he to recant. But he was not 
yet mature. Immature is the love of the youth, and im- 
mature his hatred of man and earth. His mind and the 
wings of his spirit are still tied down and heavy. 

But in the man there is more of the child than in the 
youth, and less melancholy: he knows better how to die 
and to live. Free to die and free in death, able to say a 
holy No when the time for Yes has passed: thus he 
knows how to die and to live. 

That your dying be no blasphemy against man and 
earth, my friends, that I ask of the honey of your soul. 
In your dying, your spirit and virtue should still glow 
like a sunset around the earth: else your dying has 
turned out badly. 

Thus I want to die myself that you, my friends, may 


love the earth more for my sake; and to earth I want 

to return that I may find rest in her who gave birth to 


Verily, Zarathustra had a goal; he threw his ball: 
now you, my friends, are the heirs of my goal; to you I 
throw my golden ball. More than anything, I like to see 
you, my friends, throwing the golden ball. And so I still 
linger a little on the earth: forgive me for that. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


When Zarathustra had said farewell to the town to 
which his heart was attached, and which was named 
The Motley Cow, many who called themselves his dis- 
ciples followed him and escorted him. Thus they came 
to a crossroads; then Zarathustra told them that he now 
wanted to walk alone, for he liked to walk alone. His 
disciples gave him as a farewell present a staff with a 
golden handle on which a serpent coiled around the 
sun. Zarathustra was delighted with the staff and leaned 
on it; then he spoke thus to his disciples: 

Tell me: how did gold attain the highest value? Be- 
cause it is uncommon and useless and gleaming and 
gentle in its splendor; it always gives itself. Only as the 
image of the highest virtue did gold attain the highest 
value. Goldlike gleam the eyes of the giver. Golden 
splendor makes peace between moon and sun. Uncom- 
mon is the highest virtue and useless; it is gleaming and 
gentle in its splendor: a gift-giving virtue is the highest 

Verily, I have found you out, my disciples: you strive, 
as I do, for the gift-giving virtue. What would you have 
in common with cats and wolves? This is your thirst: to 

become sacrifices and gifts yourselves; and that is why 
you thirst to pile up all the riches in your soul. Insatia- 
bly your soul strives for treasures and gems, because 
your virtue is insatiable in wanting to give. You force 
all things to and into yourself that they may flow back 
out of your well as the gifts of your love. Verily, such 
a gift-giving love must approach all values as a robber; 
but whole and holy I call this selfishness. 

There is also another selfishness, an all-too-poor and 
hungry one that always wants to steal — the selfishness 
of the sick: sick selfishness. With the eyes of a thief it 
looks at everything splendid; with the greed of hunger 
it sizes up those who have much to eat; and always it 
sneaks around the table of those who give. Sickness 
speaks out of such craving and invisible degeneration; 
the thievish greed of this selfishness speaks of a diseased 

Tell me, my brothers: what do we consider bad and 
worst of all? Is it not degeneration? And it is degenera- 
tion that we always infer where the gift-giving soul is 
lacking. Upward goes our way, from genus to over- 
genus. But we shudder at the degenerate sense which 
says, "Everything for me." Upward flies our sense: thus 
it is a parable of our body, a parable of elevation. 
Parables of such elevations are the names of the virtues. 

Thus the body goes through history, becoming and 
fighting. And the spirit — what is that to the body? The 
herald of its fights and victories, companion and echo. 

All names of good and evil are parables: they do not 
define, they merely hint. A fool is he who wants knowl- 
edge of them! 

Watch for every hour, my brothers, in which your 
spirit wants to speak in parables: there lies the origin 
of your virtue. There your body is elevated and resur- 
rected; with its rapture it delights the spirit so that it 


tums creator and esteemer and lover and benefactor of 

all things. 

When your heart flows broad and full like a river, a 
blessing and a danger to those living near: there is the 
origin of your virtue. 

When you are above praise and blame, and your will 
wants to command all things, like a lover's will: there is 
the origin of your virtue. 

When you despise the agreeable and the soft bed and 
cannot bed yourself far enough from the soft: there is 
the origin of your virtue. 

When you will with a single will and you call this 
cessation of all need "necessity": there is the origin of 
your virtue. 

Verily, a new good and evil is she. Verily, a new deep 
murmur and the voice of a new well! 

Power is she, this new virtue; a dominant thought is 
she, and around her a wise soul: a golden sun, and 
around it the serpent of knowledge. 


Here Zarathustra fell silent for a while and looked 
lovingly at his disciples. Then he continued to speak 
thus, and the tone of his voice had changed: 

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the 
power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your 
knowledge serve the meaning of the earth. Thus I beg 
and beseech you. Do not let them fly away from earthly 
things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. 
Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has 
flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew 
away, as I do— back to the body, back to life, that it 
may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. 

In a hundred ways, thus far, have spirit as well as 
virtue flown away and made mistakes. Alas, all this de- 


lusion and all these mistakes still dwell in our body: 
they have there become body and will. 

In a hundred ways, thus far, spirit as well as virtue 
has tried and erred. Indeed, an experiment was man. 
Alas, much ignorance and error have become body 
within us. 

Not only the reason of millennia, but their madness 
too, breaks out in us. It is dangerous to be an heir. Still 
we fight step by step with the giant, accident; and over 
the whole of humanity there has ruled so far only non- 
sense — no sense. 

Let your spirit and your virtue serve the sense of the 
earth, my brothers; and let the value of all things be 
posited newly by you. For that shall you be fighters! For 
that shall you be creators! 

With knowledge, the body purifies itself; making ex- 
periments with knowledge, it elevates itself; in the 
lover of knowledge all instincts become holy; in the 
elevated, the soul becomes gay. 

Physician, help yourself: thus you help your patient 
too. Let this be his best help that he may behold with 
his eyes the man who heals himself. 

There are a thousand paths that have never yet been 
trodden — a thousand healths and hidden isles of life. 
Even now, man and man's earth are unexhausted and 

Wake and listen, you that are lonely! From the future 
come winds with secret wing-beats; and good tidings 
are proclaimed to delicate ears. You that are lonely to- 
day, you that are withdrawing, you shall one day be 
the people: out of you, who have chosen yourselves, 
there shall grow a chosen people — and out of them, the 
overman. Verily, the earth shall yet become a site of 
recovery. And even now a new fragrance surrounds it, 
bringing salvation — and a new hope. 



When Zarathustra had said these words he became 
silent, like one who has not yet said his last word; long 
he weighed his staff in his hand, doubtfully. At last he 
spoke thus, and the tone of his voice had changed. 

Now I go alone, my disciples. You too go now, alone. 
Thus I want it. Verily, I counsel you: go away from me 
and resist Zarathustra! And even better: be ashamed of 
himl Perhaps he deceived you. 

The man of knowledge must not only love his 
enemies, he must also be able to hate his friends. 

One repays a teacher badly if one always remains 
nothing but a pupil. And why do you not want to pluck 
at my wreath? 

You revere me; but what if your reverence tumbles 
one day? Beware lest a statue slay you. 

You say you believe in Zarathustra? But what matters 
Zarathustra? You are my believers — but what matter all 
believers? You had not yet sought yourselves: and you 
found me. Thus do all believers; therefore all faith 
amounts to so little. 

Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only 
when you have all denied me will I return to you. 

Verily, my brothers, with different eyes shall I then 
seek my lost ones; with a different love shall I then love 

And once again you shall become my friends and the 
children of a single hope — and then shall I be with you 
the third time, that I may celebrate the great noon with 

And that is the great noon when man stands in the 
middle of his way between beast and overman and 
celebrates his way to the evening as his highest hope: 
for it is the way to a new morning. 

Then will he who goes under bless himself for being 
one who goes over and beyond; and the sun of his 
knowledge will stand at high noon for him. 

"Dead are all gods: now we want the overman to 
live" — on that great noon, let this be our last will. 
Thus spoke Zarathustra. 

Thus Spoke Zarathustra: Second Part 

. . . and only when you have all denied me wiU 
I return to you. 

Verily, my brothers, with different eyes shell I 
then seek my lost ones; with a different love shall 
I then love you. (Zarathustra, "On the Gift-Giv- 
ing Virtue." 1, p. 190) 

editor's notes 

1. The Child with the Mirror: Transition to Part Two with 
its partly new style: "A new speech comes to me. . . . 
My spirit no longer wants to walk on worn soles." 

2. Upon the Blessed Isles: The creative life versus belief 
in God: "God is a conjecture." The polemic against the 
opening lines of the final chorus in Goethe's Faust is taken 
up again in the chapter "On Poets" (see comments, p. 193). 
But the lines immediately following in praise of imper- 
manence and creation are thoroughly in the spirit of Goethe. 

3. On the Pitying: A return to the style of Part One and 
a major statement of Nietzsche's ideas on pity, ressentiment, 
and repression. 

4. On Priests: Relatively mild, compared to the portrait 
of the priest in The Antichrist five years later. 

5. On the Virtuous: A typology of different conceptions of 
virtue, with vivisectional intent. Nietzsche denounces "the 
filth of the words: revenge, punishment, reward, retri- 
bution," which he associates with Christianity; but also 


that rigorism for which "virtue is the spasm under 
the scourge" and those who "call it virtue when their 
vices grow lazy." The pun on "I am just" is, in German: 
wenn sie sagen: "ich bin gerecht," so klingt es immer 
gleich wie: "ich bin gerachtl" 

6. On the Rabble: The theme of Zarathustra's nausea is 
developed ad nauseam in later chapters. La Nausee — to 
speak in Sartre's terms — is one of his chief trials, and its 
eventual conquest is his greatest triumph. "I often grew 
weary of the spirit when I found that even the rabble had 
esprit" may help to account for some of Nietzsche's remarks 
elsewhere. Generally he celebrates the spirit — not in oppo- 
sition to the body but as mens sana in corpore sano. 

7. On the Tarantulas: One of the central motifs of Nietz- 
sche's philosophy is stated in italics: "that man be delivered 
from revenge." In this chapter, the claim of human equality 
is criticized as an expression of the ressentiment of the sub- 

8. On the Famous Wise Men: One cannot serve two 
masters: the people and the truth. The philosophers of 
the past have too often rationalized popular prejudices. But 
the service of truth is a passion and martyrdom, for "spirit 
is the life that itself cuts into life: with its agony it 
increases its own knowledge." The song of songs on the 
spirit in this chapter may seem to contradict Nietzsche's 
insistence, in the chapter "On the Despisers of the Body," 
that the spirit is a mere instrument. Both themes are 
central in Nietzsche's thought, and their apparent contra- 
diction is partly due to the fact that both are stated meta- 
phorically. For, in truth, Nietzsche denies any crude dual- 
ism of body and spirit as a popular prejudice. The life of 
the spirit and the life of the body are aspects of a single 
life. But up to a point the contradiction can also be resolved 
metaphorically: life uses the spirit against its present form 
to attain a higher perfection. Man's enhancement is 
inseparable from the spirit; but Nietzsche denounces the 
occasional efforts of the spirit to destroy life instead of 
pruning it. 


fl. The Night Song: "Light am I; ah, that I were night!* 

10. The Dancing Song: Life and wisdom as jealous women. 

11. The Tomb Song: "Invulnerable am I only in the heel." 

12. On Self-Overcoming: The first long discussion of the 
will to power marks, together with the chapters "On the 
Pitying" and "On the Tarantulas," one of the high points 
of Part Two. Philosophically, however, it raises many diffi- 
culties. (See my Nietzsche, 6, III.) 

13. On Those Who Are Sublime: The doctrine of self- 
overcoming is here guarded against misunderstandings: far 
from favoring austere heroics, Nietzsche praises humor ( and 
practices it: witness the whole of Zarathustra, especially 
Part Four) and, no less, gracefulness and graciousness. 
The three sentences near the end, beginning "And there 
is nobody . . . ," represent a wonderfully concise statement 
of much of his philosophy. 

14. On the Land of Education: Against modern eclecticism 
and lack of style. "Rather would I be a day laborer in 
Hades . . .": in the Odyssey, the shade of Achilles would 
rather be a day laborer on the smallest field than king of 
all the dead in Hades. Zarathustra abounds in similar 
allusions. "Everything deserves to perish," for example, is 
an abbreviation of a dictum of Goethe's Mephistopheles. 

15. On Immaculate Perception: Labored sexual imagery, 
already notable in "The Dancing Song," keeps this critique 
of detachment from becoming incisive. Not arid but, 
judged by high standards, a mismatch of message and 
metaphor. Or put positively: something of a personal docu- 
ment. Therefore the German references to the sun as 
feminine have been retained in translation. "Loving and 
perishing (Licben und Untergehn)" do not rhyme in 
Gentian either. 

16. On Scholars: Nietzsche's, not Zarathustra's, autobiog- 

17. On Poets: This chapter is full of allusions to the final 
alwus in Goethe's Faust, which might be translated thus: 

What is destructible 
Is but a parable; 


What fails ineluctably 
The undeclarable, 
Here it was seen, 
Here it was action; 
The Etemal-Feminine 
Lures to perfection. 

18. On Great Events: How successful Nietzsche's attempts 
at narrative are is at least debatable. Here the story 
distracts from his statement of his anti-political attitude. 
But the curious mixture of the solemn and frivolous, myth, 
epigram, and "bow-wow," is of course entirely intentional. 
Even the similarity between the ghost's cry and the words 
of the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland probably would 
not have dismayed Nietzsche in the least. 

19. The Soothsayer: In the chapter "On the Adder's Bite" 
a brief parable introduces some of Zarathustra's finest say- 
ings; but here the parable is offered for its own sake, and 
we feel closer to Rimbaud than to Proverbs. The soothsayer 
reappears in Part Four. 

20. On Redemption: In the conception of inverse cripples 
and the remarks on revenge and punishment Zarathustra's 
moral pathos reappears to some extent; but the mood of 
the preceding chapter figures in his subsequent reflections, 
which lead up to, but stop short of, Nietzsche's notion of 
the eternal recurrence of the same events. 

21. On Human Prudence: First: better to be deceived 
occasionally than always to watch out for deceivers. Second: 
vanity versus pride. Third: men today (1883) are too 
concerned about petty evil, but great things are possible 
only where great evil is harnessed. 

22. The Stillest Hour: Zarathustra cannot yet get himself 
to proclaim the eternal recurrence and hence he must 
leave in order to "ripen." 



Then Zarathustra returned again to the mountains 
and to the solitude of his cave and withdrew from men, 
waiting like a sower who has scattered his seed. But his 
soul grew full of impatience and desire for those whom 
he loved, because he still had much to give them. For 
this is what is hardest: to close the open hand because 
one loves, and to keep a sense of shame as a giver. 

Thus months and years passed for the solitary; but 
his wisdom grew and caused him pain with its fullness. 
One morning, however, he woke even before the dawn, 
reflected long, lying on his bed, and at last spoke to his 

Why was I so startled in my dream that I awoke? 
Did not a child step up to me, carrying a mirror? "O 
Zarathustra," the child said to me, "look at yourself in 
the mirror." But when I looked into the mirror I cried 
out, and my heart was shaken: for it was not myself I 
saw, but a devil's grimace and scornful laughter. Verily, 
all-too-well do I understand the sign and admonition of 
the dream: my teaching is in danger; weeds pose as 
wheat. My enemies have grown powerful and have dis- 
torted my teaching till those dearest to me must be 
ashamed of the gifts I gave them. I have lost my friends; 
the hour has come to seek my lost ones." 

With these words Zarathustra leaped up, not like a 
frightened man seeking air but rather as a seer and 
singer who is moved by the spirit. Amazed, his eagle 
and his serpent looked at him: for, like dawn, a coming 
happiness lay reflected in his face. 

What has happened to me, my animals? said Zara- 
thustra. Have I not changed? Has not bliss come to me 
as a storm? My happiness is foolish and will say foolish 
things: it is still young, so be patient with it. I am 


wounded by my happiness: let all who suffer be my 
physicians. I may go down again to my friends, and to 
my enemies too. Zarathustra may speak again and give 
and do what is dearest to those dear to him. My impa- 
tient love overflows in rivers, downward, toward sunrise 
and sunset. From silent mountains and thunderstorms 
of suffering my soul rushes into the valleys. 

Too long have I longed and looked into the distance. 
Too long have I belonged to loneliness; thus I have for- 
gotten how to be silent. Mouth have I become through 
and through, and the roaring of a stream from towering 
cliffs: I want to plunge my speech down into the val- 
leys. Let the river of my love plunge where there is no 
way! How could a river fail to find its way to the sea? 
Indeed, a lake is within me, solitary and self-sufficient; 
but the river of my love carries it along, down to the 

New ways I go, a new speech comes to me; weary I 
grow, like all creators, of the old tongues. My spirit no 
longer wants to walk on worn soles. 

Too slowly runs all speech for me: into your chariot I 
leap, storml And even you I want to whip with my 
sarcasm. Like a cry and a shout of joy I want to sweep 
over wide seas, till I find the blessed isles where my 
friends are dwelling. And my enemies among them! 
How I now love all to whom I may speak! My enemies 
too are part of my bliss. 

And when I want to mount my wildest horse, it is al- 
ways my spear that helps me up best, as the ever-ready 
servant of my foot: the spear that I hurl against my 
enemies. How grateful I am to my enemies that I may 
finally hurl it! 

The tension of my cloud was too great: between the 
laughter of lightning bolts I want to throw showers of 
hail into the depths. Violently my chest will expand, 

violently will it blow its storm over the mountains and 
thus find relief. Verily, like a storm come my happiness 
and my freedom. But let my enemies believe that the 
evil one rages over their heads. 

Indeed, you too will be frightened, my friends, by my 
wild wisdom; and perhaps you will flee from it, together 
with my enemies. Would that I knew how to lure you 
back with shepherds' flutes! Would that my lioness, wis- 
dom, might learn how to roar tenderly! And many 
things have we already learned together. 

My wild wisdom became pregnant on lonely moun- 
tains; on rough stones she gave birth to her young, her 
youngest. Now she runs foolishly through the harsh 
desert and seeks and seeks gentle turf — my old wild 
wisdom. Upon your hearts' gentle turf, my friends, upon 
your love she would bed her most dearly beloved. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


The figs are falling from the trees; they are good and 
sweet; and, as they fall, their red skin bursts. I am a 
north wind to ripe figs. 

Thus, like figs, these teachings fall to you, my friends; 
now consume their juice and their sweet meat. It is 
autumn about us, and pure sky and afternoon. Behold 
what fullness there is about us! And out of such overflow 
it is beautiful to look out upon distant seas. Once one 
said God when one looked upon distant seas; but now 
I have taught you to say: overman. 

God is a conjecture; but I desire that your conjectures 
should not reach beyond your creative will. Could you 
create a god? Then do not speak to me of any gods. But 
you could well create the overman. Perhaps not you 
yourselves, my brothers. But into fathers and forefathers 


of the overman you could re-create yourselves: and let 

this be your best creation. 

God is a conjecture; but I desire that your conjec- 
tures should be limited by what is thinkable. Could you 
think a god? But this is what the will to truth should 
mean to you: that everything be changed into what is 
thinkable for man, visible for man, feelable by man. You 
should think through your own senses to their conse- 

And what you have called world, that shall be created 
only by you: your reason, your image, your will, your 
love shall thus be realized. And verily, for your own 
bliss, you lovers of knowledge. 

And how would you bear life without this hope, you 
lovers of knowledge? You could not have been bom 
either into the incomprehensible or into the irrational. 

But let me reveal my heart to you entirely, my 
friends: if there were gods, how could I endure not to 
be a godl Hence there are no gods. Though I drew this 
conclusion, now it draws me. 

God is a conjecture; but who could drain all the 
agony of this conjecture without dying? Shall his faith 
be taken away from the creator, and from the eagle, his 
soaring to eagle heights? 

God is a thought that makes crooked all that is 
straight, and makes turn whatever stands. How? Should 
time be gone, and all that is impermanent a mere lie? 
To think this is a dizzy whirl for human bones, and a 
vomit for the stomach; verily, I call it the turning sick- 
ness to conjecture thus. Evil I call it, and misanthropic 
— all this teaching of the One and the Plenum and the 
Unmoved and the Sated and the Permanent. All the 
permanent — that is only a parable. And the poets lie 
too much. 

It is of time and becoming that the best parables 

should speak: let them be a praise and a justification of 
all impermanence. 

Creation — that is the great redemption from suffering, 
and life's growing light. But that the creator may be, 
suffering is needed and much change. Indeed, there 
must be much bitter dying in your life, you creators. 
Thus are you advocates and justifiers of all imperma- 
nence. To be the child who is newly bom, the creator 
must also want to be the mother who gives birth and 
the pangs of the birth-giver. 

Verily, through a hundred souls I have already passed 
on my way, and through a hundred cradles and birth 
pangs. Many a farewell have I taken; I know the heart- 
rending last hours. But thus my creative will, my des- 
tiny, wills it. Or, to say it more honestly: this very 
destiny — my will wills. 

Whatever in me has feeling, suffers and is in prison; 
but my will always comes to me as my liberator and 
joy-bringer. Willing liberates: that is the true teaching 
of will and liberty — thus Zarathustra teaches it. Willing 
no more and esteeming no more and creating no more — 
oh, that this great weariness might always remain far 
from mel In knowledge too I feel only my will's joy in 
begetting and becoming; and if there is innocence in 
my knowledge, it is because the will to beget is in it. 
Away from God and gods this will has lured me; what 
could one create if gods existed? 

But rny fervent will to create impels me ever again 
toward man; thus is the hammer impelled toward the 
stone. O men, in the stone there sleeps an image, 
the image of my images. Alas, that it must sleep in the 
hardest, the ugliest stone! Now my hammer rages 
cruelly against its prison. Pieces of rock rain from the 
stone: what is that to me? I want to perfect it; for a 
shadow came to me — the stillest and lightest of all 


things once came to me. The beauty of the overman 
came to me as a shadow. O my brothers, what are the 
gods to me now? 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


My friends, a gibe was related to your friend: "Look 
at Zarathustral Does he not walk among us as if we 
were animals?" 

But it were better said: "He who has knowledge 
walks among men as among animals." 

To him who has knowledge, man himself is "the 
animal with red cheeks." How did this come about? Is 
it not because man has had to be ashamed too often? 

0 my friends! Thus speaks he who has knowledge: 
shame, shame, shame — that is the history of man. And 
that is why he who is noble bids himself not to shame: 
shame he imposes on himself before all who suffer. 

Verily, I do not like them, the merciful who feel 
blessed in their pity: they are lacking too much in 
shame. If I must pity, at least I do not want it known; 
and if I do pity, it is preferably from a distance. 

I should also like to shroud my face and flee before 

1 am recognized; and thus I bid you do, my friends. 
Would that my destiny led those like you, who do not 
suffer, across my way, and those with whom I may 
share' hope and meal and honey. Verily, I may have 
done this and that for sufferers; but always I seemed to 
have done better when I learned to feel better joys. As 
long as there have been men, man has felt too little joy: 
that alone, my brothers, is our original sin. And learning 
better to feel joy, we leam best not to hurt others or to 
plan hurts for them. 

Therefore I wash my hand when it has helped the 

sufferer; therefore I wipe even my soul. Having seen the 
sufferer suffer, I was ashamed for the sake of his shame; 
and when I helped him, I transgressed grievously 
against his pride. 

Great indebtedness does not make men grateful, but 
vengeful; and if a little charity is not forgotten, it turns 
into a gnawing worm. 

"Be reserved in accepting! Distinguish by acceptingl" 
Thus I advise those who have nothing to give. 

But I am a giver of gifts: I like to give, as a friend to 
friends. Strangers, however, and the poor may them- 
selves pluck the fruit from my tree: that will cause them 
less shame. 

But beggars should be abolished entirely! Verily, it is 
annoying to give to them and it is annoying not to give 
to them. 

And also sinners and bad consciences! Believe me, my 
friends: the bite of conscience teaches men to bite. 

Worst of all, however, are petty thoughts. Verily, 
even evil deeds are better than petty thoughts. 

To be sure, you say: "The pleasure in a lot of petty 
nastiness saves us from many a big evil deed." But here 
one should not wish to save. 

An evil deed is like a boil: it itches and irritates and 
breaks open — it speaks honestly. "Behold, I am disease" 
— thus speaks the evil deed; that is its honesty. 

But a petty thought is like a fungus: it creeps and 
stoops and does not want to be anywhere — until the 
whole body is rotten and withered with little fungi. 

But to him who is possessed by the devil I whisper 
this word: "Better for you to rear up your devil! Even 
for you there is still a way to greatness!" 

My brothers, one knows a little too much about 
everybody. And we can even see through some men and 
yet we can by no means pass through them. 


It is difficult to live with people because it is so diffi- 
cult to be silent. And not against him who is repugnant 
to us are we most unfair, but against him who is no 
concern of ours. 

But if you have a suffering friend, be a resting place 
for his suffering, but a hard bed as it were, a field cot: 
thus will you profit him best. 

And if a friend does you evil, then say: "I forgive 
you what you did to me; but that you have done it to 
yourself — how could I forgive that?" Thus speaks all 
great love: it overcomes even forgiveness and pity. 

One ought to hold on to one's heart; for if one lets it 
go, one soon loses control of the head too. Alas, where 
in the world has there been more folly than among the 
pitying? And what in the world has caused more suffer- 
ing than the folly of the pitying? Woe to all who love 
without having a height that is above their pity! 

Thus spoke the devil to me once: "God too has his 
hell: that is his love of man." And most recently I heard 
him say this: "God is dead; God died of his pity for 

Thus be warned of pity: from there a heavy cloud 
will yet come to man. Verily, I understand weather 
signs. But mark this too: all great love is even above all 
its pity; for it still wants to create the beloved. 

"Myself I sacrifice to my love, and my neighbor as 
myself" — thus runs the speech of all creators. But all 
creators are hard. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Once Zarathustra gave his disciples a sign and spoke 
these words to them: 
"Here are priests; and though they are my enemies, 

pass by them silently and with sleeping swords. Among 
them too there are heroes; many of them have suffered 
too much: therefore they want to make others suffer. 

"They are evil enemies: nothing is more vengeful 
tharf their humility. And whoever attacks them, soils 
himself easily. Yet my blood is related to theirs, and I 
want to know that my blood is honored even in theirs." 

And when they had passed, pain seized Zarathustra; 
and he had not wrestled long with his pain when he 
began to speak thus: 

I am moved by compassion for these priests. I also 
find them repulsive; but that matters least of all to me 
since I have been among men. But I suffer and have 
suffered with them: prisoners they are to me, and 
marked men. He whom they call Redeemer has put 
them in fetters: in fetters of false values and delusive 
words. Would that someone would yet redeem them 
from their Redeemer! 

Once when the sea cast them about, they thought 
they were landing on an island; but behold, it was a 
sleeping monster. False values and delusive words: these 
are the worst monsters for mortals; long does calamity 
sleep and wait in them. But eventually it comes and 
wakes and eats and devours what built huts upon it. 
Behold these huts which these priests builtl Churches 
they call their sweet-smelling caves. Oh, that falsified 
light! That musty air! Here the soul is not allowed to 
soar to its height. For thus their faith commands: 
"Crawl up the stairs on your knees, ye sinners!" 

Verily, rather would I see even the shameless than 
the contorted eyes of their shame and devotion! Who 
created for themselves such caves and stairways of re- 
pentance? Was it not such as wanted to hide themselves 
and were ashamed before the pure sky? 

And only when the pure sky again looks through 


broken ceilings and down upon grass and red poppies 
near broken walls, will I again rum my heart to the 
abodes of this god. 

They have called "God" what was contrary to them 
and gave them pain; and verily, there was much of the 
heroic in their adoration. And they did not know how 
to love their god except by crucifying man. 

As corpses they meant to live; in black they decked 
out their corpses; out of their speech, too, I still smell 
the bad odor of death chambers. And whoever lives 
near them lives near black ponds out of which an 
ominous frog sings its song with sweet melancholy. 
They would have to sing better songs for me to learn 
to have faith in their Redeemer: and his disciples would 
have to look more redeemed! 

Naked would I see them: for only beauty should 
preach repentance. But who would be persuaded by 
this muffled melancholy? Verily, their redeemers them- 
selves did not come out of freedom and the seventh 
heaven of freedom. Verily, they themselves have never 
walked on the carpets of knowledge. Of gaps was the 
spirit of these redeemers made up; but into every gap 
they put their delusion, their stopgap, which they called 

Their spirit was drowned in their pity; and when 
they were swollen and overswollen with pity, it was al- 
ways a great folly that swam on top. Eagerly and with 
much shouting they drove their herd over their path; as 
if there were but a single path to the future. Verily, 
these shepherds themselves belonged among the sheep. 
Small spirits and spacious souls these shepherds had; 
but my brothers, what small domains have even the 
most spacious souls proved to be so far! 

They wrote signs of blood on the way they walked, 
and their folly taught that with blood one proved truth. 

But blood is the worst witness of truth; blood poisons 
even the purest doctrine and tums it into delusion and 
hatred of the heart. And if a man goes through fire for 
his doctrine — what does that prove? Verily, it is more 
if your own doctrine comes out of your own fire. 

A sultry heart and a cold head: where these two meet 
there arises the roaring wind, the "Redeemer." There 
have been greater ones, verily, and more highborn than 
those whom the people call redeemers, those roaring 
winds which carry away. And you, my brothers, must 
be redeemed from still greater ones than all the redeem- 
ers if you would find the way to freedom. 

Never yet has there been an overman. Naked I saw 
both the greatest and the smallest man: they are still 
all-too-similar to each other. Verily, even the greatest I 
found all-too-human. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Slack and sleeping senses must be addressed with 
thunder and heavenly fireworks. But the voice of beauty 
speaks gently: it creeps only into the most awakened 
souls. Gently trembled and laughed my shield today; 
that is the holy laughter and tremor of beauty. About 
you, the virtuous, my beauty laughed today. And thus 
its voice came to me: "They still want to be paid." 

You who are virtuous still want to be paidl Do you 
want rewards for virtue, and heaven for earth, and the 
eternal for your today? 

And now are you angry with me because I teach that 
there is no reward and paymaster? And verily, I do not 
even teach that virtue is its own reward. 

Alas, that is my sorrow: they have lied reward and 
punishment into die foundation of things, and now also 


into the foundation of your souls, you who are virtuous. 
But like the boar's snout, my words shall tear open the 
foundation of your souls: a plowshare will I be to you. 
All the secrets of your foundation shall come to light; 
and when you lie uprooted and broken in the sun, then 
will your lies also be separated from your truths. 

For this is your truth: you are too pure for the filth 
of the words: revenge, punishment, reward, retribution. 
You love your virtue as a mother her child; but when 
has a mother ever wished to be paid for her love? Your 
virtue is what is dearest to you. The thirst of the ring 
lives in you: every ring strives and turns to reach itself 
again. And like a dying star is every work of your vir- 
tue: its light is always still on its way and it wanders — 
and when will it no longer be on its way? Thus the 
light of your virtue is still on its way even when the 
work has been done. Though it be forgotten and dead, 
the ray of its light still lives and wanders. That your 
virtue is your self and not something foreign, a skin, a 
cloak, that is the truth from the foundation of your souls, 
you who are virtuous. 

Yet there are those for whom virtue is the spasm un- 
der the scourge, and you have listened to their clamor 
too much. 

And there are others who call it virtue when their 
vices grow lazy; and when their hatred and jealousy 
stretch their limbs for once, then their "justice" comes 
to life and rubs its sleepy eyes. 

And there are others who are drawn downward: their 
devils draw them. But the more they sink, the more 
fervently glow their eyes and their lust for their god. 
Alas, their clamor too has reached your ears, you who 
are virtuous: "What I am not, that, that to me are God 
and virtuel" 

And there are others who come along, heavy and 

creaking like carts carrying stones downhill: they talk 
much of dignity and virtue — they call their brake vir- 

And there are others who are like cheap clocks that 
must be wound: they tick and they want the tick-tock 
to be called virtue. Verily, I have my pleasure in these: 
wherever I find such clocks, I shall wind and wound 
them with my mockery, and they shall whir for me. 

And others are proud of their handful of justice and 
commit outrages against all things for its sake, till the 
world is drowned in their injustice. Oh how ill the word 
virtue comes out of their mouths! And when they say, 
"I am just," it always sounds like "I am just — revenged." 
With their virtue they want to scratch out the eyes of 
their enemies, and they exalt themselves only to humble 

And then again there are such as sit in their swamp 
and speak thus out of the reeds: "Virtue — that is sitting 
still in a swamp. We bite no one and avoid those who 
want to bite; and in all things we hold the opinion that 
is given to us." 

And then again there are such as love gestures and 
think that virtue is some kind of gesture. Their knees 
always adore, and their hands are hymns to virtue, but 
their heart knows nothing about it. 

And then again there are such as consider it virtue 
to say, "Virtue is necessary"; but at bottom they believe 
only that the police is necessary. 

And some who cannot see what is high in man call it 
virtue that they see all-too-closely what is low in man: 
thus they call their evil eye virtue. 

And some want to be edified and elevated, and they 
call that virtue, while others want to be bowled over, 
and they call that virtue too. 

And thus almost all believe that they have a share in 


virtue; and at the very least everyone wants to be an 

expert on good and evil. 

Yet Zarathustra did not come to say to all these liars 
and fools: "What do you know of virtue? What could 
you know of virtue?" 

Rather, that you, my friends, might grow weary of 
the old words you have learned from the fools and liars. 

Weary of the words: reward, retribution, punishment, 
and revenge in justice. 

Weary of saying: what makes an act good is that it 
is unselfish. 

Oh, my friends, that your self be in your deed as the 
mother is in her child — let that be your word concern- 
ing virtue! 

Verily, I may have taken a hundred words from you 
and the dearest toys of your virtue, and now you are 
angry with me, as children are angry. They played by 
the sea, and a wave came and carried off their toy to the 
depths: now they are crying. But the same wave shall 
bring them new toys and shower new colorful shells be- 
fore them. Thus they will be comforted; and like them, 
you too, my friends, shall have your comfortings — and 
new colorful shells. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Life is a well of joy; but where the rabble drinks too, 
all wells are poisoned. I am fond of all that is clean, but 
I have no wish to see the grinning snouts and the thirst 
of the unclean. They cast their eye into the well: now 
their revolting smile shines up out of the well. They 
have poisoned the holy water with their lustfulness; and 
when they called their dirty dreams "pleasure," they 
poisoned the language too. The flame is vexed when 

their moist hearts come near the fire; the spirit itself 
seethes and smokes where the rabble steps near the fire. 
In their hands all fruit grows sweetish and overmellow; 
their glance makes the fruit tree a prey of the wind and 
withers its crown. 

And some who turned away from life only turned 
away from the rabble: they did not want to share well 
and flame and fruit with the rabble. 

And some who went into the wilderness and suffered 
thirst with the beasts of prey merely did not want to sit 
around the cistern with filthy camel drivers. 

And some who came along like annihilators and like 
a hailstorm to all orchards merely wanted to put a foot 
into the gaping jaws of the rabble to plug up its throat. 

The bite on which I gagged the most is not the 
knowledge that life itself requires hostility and death 
and torture-crosses — but once I asked, and I was almost 
choked by my question: What? does life require even 
the rabble? Are poisoned wells required, and stinking 
fires and soiled dreams and maggots in the bread of fife? 

Not my hatred but my nausea gnawed hungrily at my 
life. Alas, I often grew weary of the spirit when I found 
that even the rabble had esprit. And I turned my back 
on those who rule when I saw what they now call rul- 
ing: higgling and haggling for power — with the rabble. 
I have lived with closed ears among people with foreign 
tongues: would that the tongue of their higgling and 
their haggling for power might remain foreign to me. 
And, holding my nose, I walked disgruntled through all 
of yesterday and today: verily, all of yesterday and to- 
day smells foul of the writing rabble. 

Like a cripple who has become deaf and blind and 
dumb: thus have I lived for many years lest I five with 
the power-, writing- and pleasure-rabble. Laboriously 
and cautiously my spirit climbed steps; alms of pleasure 


were its refreshment; and lif e crept along for the blind 

as on a cane. 

What was it that happened to me? How did I redeem 
myself from nausea? Who rejuvenated my sight? How 
did I fly to the height where no more rabble sits by the 
well? Was it my nausea itself which created wings for 
me and water-divining powers? Verily, I had to fly to 
the highest spheres that I might find the fount of pleas- 
ure again. 

Oh, I found it, my brothers! Here, in the highest 
spheres, the fount of pleasure wells up for mel And here 
is a life of which the rabble does not drink. 

You flow for me almost too violently, fountain of 
pleasure. And often you empty the cup again by want- 
ing to fill it. And I must still learn to approach you more 
modestly: all-too-violently my heart still flows toward 
you — my heart, upon which my summer bums, short, 
hot, melancholy, overblissful: how my summer-heart 
craves your coolnessl 

Gone is the hesitant gloom of my spring! Gone the 
malice of my snowflakes in June! Summer have I be- 
come entirely, and summer noon! A summer in the 
highest spheres with cold wells and blissful silence: oh, 
come, my friends, that the silence may become still 
more blissful! 

For this is our height and our home: we live here too 
high and steep for all the unclean and their thirst. Cast 
your pure eyes into the well of my pleasure, friends! 
How should that make it muddy? It shall laugh back at 
you in its own purity. 

On the tree, Future, we build our nest; and in our 
solitude eagles shall bring us nourishment in their beaks. 
Verily, no nourishment which the unclean might share: 
they would think they were devouring fire and they 
would burn their mouths. Verily, we keep no homes 


here for the unclean: our pleasure would be an ice cave 
to their bodies and their spirits. 

And we want to live over them like strong winds, 
neighbors of the eagles, neighbors of the snow, neigh- 
bors of the sun: thus live strong winds. And like a wind 
I yet want to blow among them one day, and with my 
spirit take the breath of their spirit: thus my future 
wills it. 

Verily, a strong wind is Zarathustra for all who are 
low; and this counsel he gives to all his enemies and all 
who spit and spew: "Beware of spitting against the 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Behold, this is the hole of the tarantula. Do you want 
to see the tarantula itself? Here hangs its web; touch it, 
that it tremble! 

There it comes willingly: welcome, tarantula! Your 
triangle and symbol sits black on your back; and I also 
know what sits in your soul. Revenge sits in your soul: 
wherever you bite, black scabs grow; your poison makes 
the soul whirl with revenge. 

Thus I speak to you in a parable — you who make 
souls whirl, you preachers of equality. To me you are 
tarantulas, and secretly vengeful. But I shall bring your 
secrets to light; therefore I laugh in your faces with my 
laughter of the heights. Therefore I tear at your webs, 
that your rage may lure you out of your lie-holes and 
your revenge may leap out from behind your word jus- 
tice. For that man be delivered from revenge, that is 
for me the bridge to the highest hope, and a rainbow 
after long storms. 

The tarantulas, of course, would have it otherwise. 


"What justice means to us is precisely that the world be 
filled with the storms of our revenge" — thus they speak 
to each other. "We shall wreak vengeance and abuse on 
all whose equals we are not" — thus do the tarantula- 
hearts vow. "And will to equality' shall henceforth be 
the name for virtue; and against all that has power we 
want to raise our clamor!" 

You preachers of equality, the tyrannomania of im- 
potence clamors thus out of you for equality: your most 
secret ambitions to be tyrants thus shroud themselves 
in words of virtue. Aggrieved conceit, repressed envy 
— perhaps the conceit and envy of your fathers— erupt 
from you as a flame and as the frenzy of revenge. 

What was silent in the father speaks in the son; and 
often I found the son the unveiled secret of the father. 

They are like enthusiasts, yet it is not the heart that 
fires them — but revenge. And when they become ele- 
gant and cold, it is not the spirit but envy that makes 
them elegant and cold. Their jealousy leads them even 
on the paths of thinkers; and this is the sign of their 
jealousy: they always go too far, till their weariness 
must in the end lie down to sleep in the snow. Out of 
every one of their complaints sounds revenge; in their 
praise there is always a sting, and to be a judge seems 
bliss to them. 

But thus I counsel you, my friends: Mistrust all in 
whom the impulse to punish is powerful. They are peo- 
ple of a low sort and stock; the hangman and the blood- 
hound look out of their faces. Mistrust all who talk 
much of their justicel Verily, their souls lack more than 
honey. And when they call themselves the good and the 
just, do not forget that they would be pharisees, if only 
they had — power. 

My friends, I do not want to be mixed up and con- 
fused with others. Some preach my doctrine of life and 

are at the same time preachers of equality and taran- 
tulas. Although they are sitting in their holes, these 
poisonous spiders, with their backs turned on life, they 
speak in favor of life, but only because they wish to 
hurt. They wish to hurt those who now have power, for 
among these the preaching of death is still most at 
home. If it were otherwise, the tarantulas would teach 
otherwise; they themselves were once the foremost slan- 
derers of the world and burners of heretics. 

I do not wish to be mixed up and confused with 
these preachers of equality. For, to me justice speaks 
thus: "Men are not equal." Nor shall they become 
equal! What would my love of the overman be if I 
spoke otherwise? 

On a thousand bridges and paths they shall throng 
to the future, and ever more war and inequality shall 
divide them: thus does my great love make me speak. 
In their hostilities they shall become inventors of images 
and ghosts, and with their images and ghosts they shall 
yet fight the highest fight against one another. Good 
and evil, and rich and poor, and high and low, and all 
the names of values — arms shall they be and clattering 
signs that life must overcome itself again and again. 

Life wants to build itself up into the heights with 
pillars and steps; it wants to look into vast distances 
and out toward stirring beauties: therefore it requires 
height. And because it requires height, it requires steps 
and contradiction among the steps and the climbers. 
Life wants to climb and to overcome itself climbing. 

And behold, my friends: here where the tarantula 
has its hole, the ruins of an ancient temple rise; behold 
it with enlightened eyesl Verily, the man who once 
piled his thoughts to the sky in these stones — he, like 
the wisest, knew the secret of all life. That struggle and 
inequality are present even in beauty, and also war for 


power and more power: that is what he teaches us here 
in the plainest parable. How divinely vault and arches 
break through each other in a wrestling match; how 
they strive against each other with light and shade, 
the godlike strivers — with such assurance and beauty 
let us be enemies too, my friends! Let us strive against 
one another like gods. 

Alas, then the tarantula, my old enemy, bit me. With 
godlike assurance and beauty it bit my finger. "Punish- 
ment there must be and justice," it thinks; "and here he 
shall not sing songs in honor of enmity in vain." 

Indeed, it has avenged itself. And alas, now it will 
make my soul, too, whirl with revenge. But to keep me 
from whirling, my friends, tie me tight to this column. 
Rather would I be a stylite even, than a whirl of re- 

Verily, Zarathustra is no cyclone or whirlwind; and 
if he is a dancer, he will never dance the tarantella. 
Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


You have served the people and the superstition of 
the people, all you famous wise men — and not truth. 
And that is precisely why you were accorded respect. 
And that is also why your lack of faith was tolerated: 
it was a joke and a circuitous route to the people. Thus 
the master lets his slaves have their way and is even 
amused by their pranks. 

But the free spirit, the enemy of fetters, the non- 
adorer who dwells in the woods, is as hateful to the 
people as a wolf to dogs. To hound him out of his lair 
— that is what the people have ever called "a sense of 

decency"; ana against him the people still set their 
fiercest dogs. 

"Truth is there: after all, the people are there! Let 
those who seek beware!" — these words have echoed 
through the ages. You wanted to prove your people 
right in their reverence: that is what you called "will 
to truth," you famous wise men. And your hearts ever 
said to themselves: "From among the people I came, 
and from there too the voice of God came to me. As 
the people's advocates you have always been stiff-necked 
and clever like asses. 

And many who were powerful and wanted to get 
along smoothly with the people harnessed in front of 
their horses a little ass, a famous wise man. 

And now I should wish, you famous wise men, that 
you would at long last throw off the lion's skin com- 
pletely. The skin of the beast of prey, mottled, and the 
mane of those who search, seek, and conquer. 

Oh, to make me believe in your "truthfulness" you 
would first have to break your revering will. 

Truthful I call him who goes into godless deserts, 
having broken his revering heart. In the yellow sands, 
bumed by the sun, he squints thirstily at the islands 
abounding in wells, where living things rest under dark 
trees. Yet his thirst does not persuade him to become 
like these, dwelling in comfort; for where there are 
oases there are also idols. 

Hungry, violent, lonely, godless: thus the lion-will 
wants itself. Free from the happiness of slaves, re- 
deemed from gods and adorations, fearless and fear- 
inspiring, great and lonely: such is the will of the truth- 

It was aver in the desert that the truthful have dwelt, 
the free spirits, as masters of the desert; but in the 


cities dwell the well-fed, famous wise men — the beasts 
of burden. For, as asses, they always pull the people's 
cart. Not that I am angry with them for that: but for 
me they remain such as serve and work in a harness, 
even when they shine in harnesses of gold. And often 
they have been good servants, worthy of praise. For thus 
speaks virtue: "If you must be a servant, seek him who 
profits most from your service. The spirit and virtue of 
your master shall grow by your being his servant: then 
you yourself will grow with his spirit and his virtue." 
And verily, you famous wise men, you servants of the 
people, you yourselves have grown with the spirit and 
virtue of the people — and the people through you. In 
your honor I say this. But even in your virtues you re- 
main for me part of the people, the dumb-eyed people 
— the people, who do not know what spirit is. 

Spirit is the life that itself cuts into life: with its own 
agony it increases its own knowledge. Did you know 

And the happiness of the spirit is this: to be anointed 
and through tears to be consecrated as a sacrificial 
animal. Did you know that? 

And the blindness of the blind and their seeking and 
groping shall yet bear witness to the power of the sun, 
into which they have looked. Did you know that? 

And the lover of knowledge shall learn to build with 
mountains. It means little that the spirit moves moun- 
tains. Did you know that? 

You know only the spark of the spirit, but you do not 
see the anvil it is, nor the cruelty of its hammer. 

Verily, you do not know the pride of the spirit! But 
even less would you endure the modesty of the spirit, 
if ever it would speak. 

And you have never yet been able to cast your spirit 

into a pit of snow: you are not hot enough for that. 
Hence you also do not know the ecstasies of its cold- 

In all things, however, you act too familiarly with the 
spirit, and you have often made wisdom into a poor- 
house and a hospital for bad poets. 

You are no eagles: hence you have never experienced 
the happiness that is in the terror of the spirit. And he 
who is not a bird should not build his nest over abysses. 

You are lukewarm to me, but all profound knowledge 
flows cold. Ice cold are the inmost wells of the spirit: 
refreshing for hot hands and men of action. You stand 
there honorable and stiff and with straight backs, you 
famous wise men: no strong wind and will drives you. 

Have you never seen a sail go over the sea, rounded 
and taut and trembling with the violence of the wind? 
Like the sail, trembling with the violence of the spirit, 
my wisdom goes over the sea — my wild wisdom. 

But you servants of the people, you famous wise 
men — how could you go with me? 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Night has come; now all fountains speak more loudly. 
And my soul too is a fountain. 

Night has come; only now all the songs of lovers 
awaken. And my soul too is the song of a lover. 

Something unstilled, unsellable is within me; it wants 
to be voiced. A craving for love is within me; it speaks 
the language of love. 

Light am I; ah, that I were night! But this is my 
loneliness that I am girt with light. Ah, that I were dark 
and nocturnal! How I would suck at the breasts of light! 


And even you would I bless, you little sparkling stars 
and glowworms up there, and be overjoyed with your 
gifts of light. 

But I live in my own light; I drink back into myself 
the flames that break out of me. I do not know the 
happiness of those who receive; and I have often 
dreamed that even stealing must be more blessed than 
receiving. This is my poverty, that my hand never rests 
from giving; this is my envy, that I see waiting eyes and 
the lit-up nights of longing. Oh, wretchedness of all 
givers! Oh, darkening of my sun! Oh, craving to cravel 
Oh, ravenous hunger in satiation! 

They receive from me, but do I touch their souls? 
There is a cleft between giving and receiving; and the 
narrowest cleft is the last to be bridged. A hunger grows 
out of my beauty: I should like to hurt those for whom 
I shine; I should like to rob those to whom I give; thus 
do I hunger for malice. To withdraw my hand when 
the other hand already reaches out to it; to linger like 
the waterfall, which lingers even while it plunges: thus 
do I hunger for malice. Such revenge my fullness plots: 
such spite wells up out of my loneliness. My happiness 
in giving died in giving; my virtue tired of itself in its 

The danger of those who always give is that they 
lose their sense of shame; and the heart and hand of 
those who always mete out become callous from always 
meting out. My eye no longer wells over at the shame 
of those who beg; my hand has grown too hard for the 
trembling of filled hands. Where have the tears of my 
eyes gone and the down of my heart? Oh, the loneliness 
of all givers! Oh, the taciturnity of all who shine! 

Many suns revolve in the void: to all that is dark 
they speak with their light — to me they are silent. Oh, 
this is the enmity of the light against what shines: 

merciless it moves in its orbit. Unjust in its heart against 
all that shines, cold against suns — thus moves every sun. 

The suns fly like a storm in their orbits: that is their 
motion. They follow their inexorable will: that is their 

Oh, it is only you, you dark ones, you nocturnal ones, 
who create warmth out of that which shines. It is only 
you who drink milk and refreshment out of the udders 
of light. 

Alas, ice is all around me, my hand is burned by the 
icy. Alas, thirst is within me that languishes after your 

Night has come: alas, that I must be light! And thirst 
for the nocturnal! And loneliness! 

Night has come: now my craving breaks out of me 
like a well; to speak I crave. 

Night has come; now all fountains speak more loudly. 
And my soul too is a fountain. 

Night has come; now all the songs of lovers awaken. 
And my soul too is the song of a lover. 

Thus sang Zarathustra. 


One evening Zarathustra walked through a forest 
with his disciples; and as he sought a well, behold, he 
came upon a green meadow, silently surrounded by 
trees and shrubs, and upon it girls were dancing with 
each other. As soon as the girls recognized Zarathustra 
they ceased dancing. But Zarathustra walked up to 
them with a friendly gesture and spoke these words: 

"Do not cease dancing, you lovely girls! No killjoy 
has come to you with evil eyes, no enemy of girls. God's 
advocate am I before the devil: but the devil is the 
spirit of gravity. How could I, you lightfooted ones, be 


an enemy of godlike dances? Or of girls' feet with 

pretty ankles? 

"Indeed, I am a forest and a night of dark trees: but 
he who is not afraid of my darkness will also find rose 
slopes under my cypresses. And he will also find the 
little god whom girls like best: beside the well he lies, 
still, with his eyes shut. Verily, in bright daylight he- 
fell asleep, the sluggardl Did he chase after butterflies 
too much? Do not be angry with me, you beautiful 
dancers, if I chastise the little god a bit. He may cry 
and weep — but he is laughable even when he weeps. 
And with tears in his eyes he shall ask you for a dance, 
and I myself will sing a song for his dance: a danc- 
ing and mocking song on the spirit of gravity, my su- 
preme and most powerful devil, of whom they say that 
he is 'the master of the world.' " 

And this is the song that Zarathustra sang while 
Cupid and the girls danced together: 

Into your eyes I looked recently, O lifel And into 
the unfathomable I then seemed to be sinking. But 
you pulled me out with a golden fishing rod; and you 
laughed mockingly when I called you unfathomable. 

"Thus runs the speech of all fish," you said; "what 
they do not fathom is unfathomable. But I am merely 
changeable and wild and a woman in every way, and 
not virtuous — even if you men call me profound, faith- 
ful, eternal, and mysterious. But you men always pre- 
sent us with your own virtues, O you virtuous men!" 

Thus she laughed, the incredible one; but I never 
believe her and her laughter when she speaks ill of 

And when I talked in confidence with my wild wis- 
dom she said to me in anger, "You will, you want, you 
love — that is the only reason why you praise lif e." Then, 

I almost answered wickedly and told the angry woman 
the truth; and there is no more wicked answer than 
telling one's wisdom the truth. 

For thus matters stand among the three of us: Deeply 
I love only life — and verily, most of all when I hate life. 
But that I am well disposed toward wisdom, and often 
too well, that is because she reminds me so much of 
life. She has her eyes, her laugh, and even her little 
golden fishing rod: is it my fault that the two 
look so similar? 

And when life once asked me, "Who is this wisdom?" 
I answered fervently, "Oh yes, wisdom! One thirsts 
after her and is never satisfied; one looks through veils, 
one grabs through nets. Is she beautiful? How should 
I know? But even the oldest carps are baited with her. 
She is changeable and stubborn; often I have seen her 
bite her lip and comb her hair against the grain. Per- 
haps she is evil and false and a female in every way; 
but just when she speaks ill of herself she is most 

When I said this to life she laughed sarcastically and 
closed her eyes. "Of whom are you speaking?" she 
asked; "no doubt, of me. And even if you are right 
— should that be said to my face? But now speak of 
your wisdom too." 

Ah, and then you opened your eyes again, O beloved 
life. And again I seemed to myself to be sinking into 
the unfathomable. 

Thus sang Zarathustra. But when the dance was over 
and the girls had gone away, he grew sad. 

"The sun has set long ago," he said at last; "the 
meadow is moist, a chill comes from the woods. Some- 
thing unknown is around me and looks thoughtful. 
What? Are you still alive, Zarathustra? 


"Why? What for? By what? Whither? Where? How? 

Is it not folly still to be alive? 

"Alas, my friends, it is the evening that asks thus 

through me. Forgive me my sadness. Evening has come; 

forgive me that evening has come." 
Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


"There is the isle of tombs, the silent isle; there too 
are the tombs of my youth. There I wish to carry an 
evergreen wreath of life." Resolving this in my heart, I 
crossed the sea. 

O you visions and apparitions of my youth 1 O all you 
glances of love, you divine moments! How quickly 
you died. Today I recall you like dead friends. From 
you, my dearest friends among the dead, a sweet scent 
comes to me, loosening heart and tears. Verily, it per- 
turbs and loosens the heart of the lonely seafarer. I am 
still the richest and most enviable — I, the loneliestl For 
once I possessed you, and you still possess me: say, to 
whom fell, as to me, such rose apples from the bough? 
I am still the heir of your love and its soil, flowering 
in remembrance of you with motley wild virtues, O 
you most loved ones. 

Alas, we were fashioned to remain close to each 
other, you fair and strange wonders; and you came to 
me and my craving, not like shy birds, but like trusting 
ones to him who trusts. Indeed, fashioned for loyalty, 
like myself, and for tender eternities — I must now call 
you after your disloyalty, you divine glances and mo- 
ments: I have not yet learned any other name. Verily, 
you have died too soon for me, you fugitives. Yet you 
did not flee from me, nor did I flee from you: we are 
equally innocent in our disloyalty. 

To kill me, they strangled you, songbirds of my 
hopes. Indeed, after you, my dearest friends, malice 
has ever shot its arrows — to hit my heart. And it hitl 
For you have always been closest to my heart, my pos- 
session and what possessed me: that is why you had 
to die young and all-too-early. The arrow was shot at 
my most vulnerable possession — at you, whose skin is 
like down and even more like a smile that dies of a 

But this word I want to speak to my enemies: What 
is all murder of human beings compared to that which 
you have done to me? What you have done to me is 
more evil than any murder of human beings; you have 
taken from me the irretrievable: thus I speak to you, 
my enemies. For you murdered the visions and dearest 
wonders of my youth. My playmates you took from me, 
the blessed spirits. In their memory I lay down this 
wreath and this curse. This curse against you, my ene- 
mies! For you have cut short my eternal bliss, as a tone 
that breaks off in a cold night. Scarcely as the gleam of 
divine eyes it came to me — passing swiftly as a glance. 

Thus spoke my purity once in a fair hour: "All beings 
shall be divine to me." Then you assaulted me with 
filthy ghosts; alas, where has this fair hour fled now? 

"All days shall be holy to me" — thus said the wisdom 
of my youth once; verily, it was the saying of a gay wis- 
dom. But then you, my enemies, stole my nights from 
me and sold them into sleepless agony; alas, where has 
this gay wisdom fled now? 

Once I craved happy omens from the birds; then you 
led a monster of an owl across my way, a revolting one. 
Alas, where did my tender desire flee then? 

All nausea I once vowed to renounce: then you 
changed those near and nearest me into putrid boils. 
Alas, where did my noblest vow flee then? 


I once walked as a blind man along blessed paths; 
then you threw filth in the path of the blind man, and 
now his old footpath nauseates him. 

And when I did what was hardest for me and cele- 
brated the triumph of my overcomings, then you made 
those who loved me scream that I was hurting them 

Verily, this was always your practice: you galled my 
best honey and the industry of my best bees. To my 
charity you always dispatched the most impudent beg- 
gars; around my pity you always pushed the incurably 
shameless. Thus you wounded my virtue in its faith. 
And whenever I laid down for a sacrifice even what 
was holiest to me, your "piety" immediately placed its 
fatter gifts alongside, and in the fumes of your fat what 
was holiest to me suffocated. 

And once I wanted to dance as I had never danced 
before: over all the heavens I wanted to dance. Then 
you persuaded my dearest singer. And he struck up a 
horrible dismal tune; alas, he tooted in my ears like a 
gloomy horn. Murderous singer, tool of malice, most 
innocent yourself! I stood ready for the best dance, 
when you murdered my ecstasy with your sounds. Only 
in the dance do I know how to tell the parable of the 
highest things: and now my highest parable remained 
unspoken in my limbs. My highest hope remained un- 
spoken and unredeemed. And all the visions and con- 
solations of my youth died! How did I endure it? How 
did I get over and overcome such wounds? How did 
my soul rise again out of such tombs? 

Indeed, in me there is something invulnerable and 
unburiable, something that explodes rock: that is my 
will. Silent and unchanged it strides through the years. 
It would walk its way on my feet, my old will, and its 
mind is hard of heart and invulnerable. 

Invulnerable am I only in the heel. You are still alive 
and your old self, most patient one. You have still 
broken out of every tomb. What in my youth was un- 
redeemed lives on in you; and as life and youth you 
sit there, full of hope, on yellow ruins of tombs. 

Indeed, for me, you are still the shatterer of all 
tombs. Hail to thee, my will! And only where there are 
tombs are there resurrections. 
Thus sang Zarathustra. 


"Will to truth," you who are wisest call that which 
impels you and fills you with lust? 

A will to the thinkability of all beings: this I call 
your will. You want to make all being thinkable, for 
you doubt with well-founded suspicion that it is already 
thinkable. But it shall yield and bend for you. Thus your 
will wants it. It shall become smooth and serve the 
spirit as its mirror and reflection. That is your whole 
will, you who are wisest: a will to power — when you 
speak of good and evil too, and of valuations. You still 
want to create the world before which you can kneel: 
that is your ultimate hope and intoxication. 

The unwise, of course, the people — they are like a 
river on which a bark drifts; and in the bark sit the 
valuations, solemn and muffled up. Your will and your 
valuations you have placed on the river of becoming; 
and what the people believe to be good and evil, that 
betrays to me an ancient will to power. 

It was you who are wisest who placed such guests in 
this bark and gave them pomp and proud names — you 
and your dominant will. Now the river carries your 
bark farther; it has to carry it. It avails nothing that the 
broken wave foams and angrily opposes the keel. Not 


the river is your danger and the end of your good and 
evil, you who are wisest, but that will itself, the will 
to power — the unexhausted procreative will of life. 

But to make you understand my word concerning 
good and evil, I shall now say to you my word con- 
cerning life and the nature of all the living. 

I pursued the living; I walked the widest and the 
narrowest paths that I might know its nature. With a 
hundredfold mirror I still caught its glance when its 
mouth was closed, so that its eyes might speak to me. 
And its eyes spoke to me. 

But wherever I found the living, there I heard also 
the speech on obedience. Whatever lives, obeys. 

And this is the second point: he who cannot obey 
himself is commanded. That is the nature of the living. 

This, however, is the third point that I heard: that 
commanding is harder than obeying; and not only be- 
cause he who commands must carry the burden of all 
who obey, and because this burden may easily crush 
him. An experiment and hazard appeared to me to be 
in all commanding; and whenever the living commands, 
it hazards itself. Indeed, even when it commands itself, 
it must still pay for its commanding. It must become 
the judge, the avenger, and the victim of its own law. 
How does this happen? I asked myself. What persuades 
the living to obey and command, and to practice obe- 
dience even when it commands? 

Hear, then, my word, you who are wisest. Test in all 
seriousness whether I have crawled into the very heart 
of life and into the very roots of its heart. 

Where I found the living, there I found will to 
power; and even in the will of those who serve I found 
the will to be master. 

That the weaker should serve the stronger, to that 
it is persuaded by its own will, which would be master 

over what is weaker still: this is the one pleasure it does 
not want to renounce. And as the smaller yields to the 
greater that it may have pleasure and power over the 
smallest, thus even the greatest still yields, and for 
the sake of power risks life. That is the yielding of the 
greatest: it is hazard and danger and casting dice for 

And where men make sacrifices and serve and cast 
amorous glances, there too is the will to be master. 
Along stealthy paths the weaker steals into the castle 
and into the very heart of the more powerful — and 
there steals power. 

And life itself confided this secret to me: "Behold," 
it said, "I am that which must always overcome itself. 
Indeed, you call it a will to procreate or a drive to an 
end, to something higher, farther, more manifold: but 
all this is one, and one secret. 

"Rather would I perish than forswear this; and verily, 
where there is perishing and a falling of leaves, behold, 
there life sacrifices itself — for power. That I must be 
struggle and a becoming and an end and an opposition 
to ends — alas, whoever guesses what is my will should 
also guess on what crooked paths it must proceed. 

"Whatever I create and however much I love it — 
soon I must oppose it and my love; thus my will wills it. 
And you too, lover of knowledge, are only a path and 
footprint of my will; verily, my will to power walks 
also on the heels of your will to truth. 

"Indeed, the truth was not hit by him who shot at it 
with the word of the 'will to existence': that will does 
not exist. For, what does not exist cannot will; but 
what is in existence, how could that still want exist- 
ence? Only where there is life is there also will: not 
will to life but — thus I teach you — will to power. 

"There is much that life esteems more highly than 


life itself; but out of the esteeming itself speaks the will 

to power." 

Thus life once taught me; and with this I shall yet 
solve the riddle of your heart, you who are wisest. 

Verily, I say unto you: good and evil that are not 
transitory, do not exist. Driven on by themselves, they 
must overcome themselves again and again. With your 
values and words of good and evil you do violence 
when you value; and this is your hidden love and the 
splendor and trembling and overflowing of your soul. 
But a more violent force and a new overcoming grow 
out of your values and break egg and eggshell. 

And whoever must be a creator in good and evil, 
verily, he must first be an annihilator and break values. 
Thus the highest evil belongs to the highest goodness: 
but this is creative. 

Let us speak of this, you who are wisest, even if it 
be bad. Silence is worse; all truths that are kept silent 
become poisonous. 

And may everything be broken that cannot brook 
our truths! There are yet many houses to be built! 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Still is the bottom of my sea: who would guess that 
it harbors sportive monsters? Imperturbable is my 
depth, but it sparkles with swimming riddles and laugh- 

One who was sublime I saw today, one who was sol- 
emn, an ascetic of the spirit; oh, how my soul laughed 
at his ugliness! With a swelled chest and like one who 
holds in his breath, he stood there, the sublime one, 
silent, decked out with ugly truths, the spoil of his 

hunting, and rich in torn garments; many thoms too 
adorned him — yet I saw no rose. 

As yet he has not learned laughter or beauty. Gloomy 
this hunter returned from the woods of knowledge. He 
came home from a fight with savage beasts; but out of 
his seriousness there also peers a savage beast— one not 
overcome. He still stands there like a tiger who wants 
to leap; but I do not like these tense souls, and my 
taste does not favor all these who withdraw. 

And you tell me, friends, that there is no disputing 
of taste and tasting? But all of life is a dispute over 
taste and tasting. Taste — that is at the same time 
weight and scales and weigher; and woe unto all the 
living that would live without disputes over weight and 
scales and weighersl 

If he grew tired of his sublimity, this sublime one, 
only then would his beauty commence; and only then 
will I taste him and find him tasteful. And only when 
he turns away from himself, will he jump over his 
shadow — and verily, into his sun. All-too-long has he 
been sitting in the shadow, and the cheeks of this as- 
cetic of the spirit have grown pale; he almost starved to 
death on his expectations. Contempt is still in his eyes, 
and nausea hides around his mouth. Though he is rest- 
ing now, his rest has not yet lain in the sun. He should 
act like a bull, and his happiness should smell of the 
earth, and not of contempt for the earth. I would like to 
see him as a white bull, walking before the plowshare, 
snorting and bellowing; and his bellowing should be 
in praise of everything earthly. 

His face is still dark; the shadow of the hand plays 
upon him. His sense of sight is still in shadows. His 
deed itself still lies on him as a shadow: the hand still 
darkens the doer. As yet he has not overcome his deed. 


Though I love the bull's neck on him, I also want to 
see the eyes of the angel. He must still discard his he- 
roic will; he shall be elevated, not merely sublime: the 
ether itself should elevate him, the will-less one. 

He subdued monsters, he solved riddles: but he must 
still redeem his own monsters and riddles, changing 
them into heavenly children. As yet his knowledge has 
not learned to smile and to be without jealousy; as yet 
his torrential passion ha.s not become still in beauty. 

Verily, it is not in satiety that his desire shall grow 
silent and be submerged, but in beauty. Gracefulness 
is part of the graciousness of the great-souled. 

His arm placed over his head: thus should the hero 
rest; thus should he overcome even his rest. But just 
for the hero the beautiful is the most difficult thing. No 
violent will can attain the beautiful by exertion. A little 
more, a little less: precisely this counts for much here, 
this matters most here. 

To stand with relaxed muscles and unharnessed will: 
that is most difficult for all of you who are sublime. 

When power becomes gracious and descends into 
the visible — such descent I call beauty. 

And there is nobody from whom I want beauty as 
much as from you who are powerful: let your kindness 
be your final self-conquest. 

Of all evil I deem you capable: therefore I want the 
good from you. 

Verily, I have often laughed at the weaklings who 
thought themselves good because they had no claws. 

You shall strive after the virtue of the column: it 
grows more and more beautiful and gentle, but inter- 
nally harder and more enduring, as it ascends. 

Indeed, you that are sublime shall yet become beau- 
tiful one day and hold up a mirror to your own beauty. 

Then your soul will shudder with godlike desires, and 
there will be adoration even in your vanity. 

For this is the soul's secret: only when the hero has 
abandoned her, she is approached in a dream by the 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


I flew too far into the future: dread overcame me. 
and when I looked around, behold, time was my sole 
contemporary. Then I flew back toward home, faster 
and faster; and thus I came to you, O men of today, 
and into the land of education. For the first time I 
really had eyes for you, and a genuine desire; verily, it 
was with longing in my heart that I came. 

But what happened to me? For all my anxiety I had 
to laugh. Never had my eyes beheld anything so dap- 
pled and motley. I laughed and laughed while my foot 
was still trembling, and my heart no less. "This is 
clearly the home of all paint pots," I said. 

With fifty blotches painted on your faces and limbs 
you were sitting there, and I was amazed, you men of 
today. And with fifty mirrors around you to flatter and 
echo your color displayl Verily, you could wear no bet- 
ter masks, you men of today, than your own faces! Who 
could possibly find you out? 

With the characters of the past written all over you, 
and these characters in turn painted over with new 
characters: thus have you concealed yourselves per- 
fectly from all interpreters of characters. And even if 
one could try the reins, who would be fool enough to 
believe that you have reins? You seem baked out of 
colors and pasted notes. Motley, all ages and peoples 


peek out of your veils; motley, all customs and faiths 

speak out of your gestures. 

If one took the veils and wraps and colors and 
gestures away from you, just enough would be left to 
scare away the crows. Verily, I myself am the scared 
crow who once saw you naked and without color; 
and I flew away when the skeleton beckoned to me 
lovingly. Rather would I be a day laborer in Hades 
among the shades of the past! Even the underworldly 
are plumper and fuller than you. 

This, indeed this, is bitterness for my bowels, that 
I can endure you neither naked nor clothed, you men 
of today. All that is uncanny in the future and all that 
has ever made fugitive birds shudder is surely more 
comfortable and cozy than your "reality." For thus you 
speak: "Real are we entirely, and without belief or 
superstition." Thus you stick out your chests — but alas, 
they are hollow! Indeed, how should you be capable 
of any belief, being so dappled and motley — you who 
arc paintings of all that men have ever believed? You 
are walking refutations of all belief, and you break the 
limbs of all thought. Unbelievable: thus I call you, for 
all your pride in being reall 

All ages prate against each other in your spirits; and 
the dreams and pratings of all ages were yet more real 
than your waking. You are sterile: that is why you lack 
faith. But whoever had to create also had his prophetic 
dreams and astral signs — and had faith in faith. You are 
half-open gates at which the gravediggers wait. And 
this is your reality: "Everything deserves to perish." 

How you stand there, you who are sterile, how thin 
around the ribs! And some among you probably realized 
this and said, "Probably some god secretly took some- 
thing from me while I slept. Verily, enough to make 

himself a little female! Strange is the poverty of my 
ribs." Thus have some men of today already spoken. 

Indeed, you make me laugh, you men of today, and 
particularly when you are amazed at yourselves. And i 
should be in a sorry plight if I could not laugh at your 
amazement and had to drink down everything disgust- 
ing out of your bowls. But I shall take you more lightly, 
for I have a heavy burden; and what does it matter to 
me if bugs and winged worms still light on my bundle? 
Verily, that will not make it heavier. And not from 
you, you men of today, shall the great weariness come 
over me. 

Alas, where shall I climb now with my longing? From 
all mountains I look out for fatherlands and mother- 
lands. But home I found nowhere; a fugitive am I in 
all cities and a departure at all gates. Strange and a 
mockery to me are the men of today to whom my heart 
recently drew me; and I am driven out of fatherlands 
and motherlands. Thus I now love only my children's 
land, yet undiscovered, in the farthest sea: for this I 
bid my sails search and search. 

In my children I want to make up for being the child 
of my fathers — and to all the future, for this today. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


When the moon rose yesterday I fancied that she 
wanted to give birth to a sun: so broad and pregnant 
she lay on the horizon. But she lied to me with her 
pregnancy; and I should sooner believe in the man in 
the moon than in the woman. 

Indeed, he is not much of a man either, this shy 
nocturnal enthusiast. Verily, with a bad conscience he 


passes over the roofs. For he is lecherous and jealous, 
the monk in the moon, lecherous after the earth and all 
the joys of lovers. 

No, I do not like him, this tomcat on the roofs! I 
loathe all that crawl about half-closed windows! Piously 
and silently he passes over carpets of stars; but I do not 
like softly treading men's feet, on which no spur 
jingles. The step of everything honest speaks; but the 
cat steals over the ground. Behold, like a cat the moon 
comes along, dishonestly. 

This parable I offer you, sentimental hypocrites, you 
who are "pure perceivers." I call you — lechers. 

You too love the earth and the earthly: I have seen 
through you; but there is shame in your love and bad 
conscience — you are like the moon. Your spirit has been 
persuaded to despise the earthly; but your entrails have 
not been persuaded, and they are what is strongest in 
you. And now your spirit is ashamed at having given in 
to your entrails, and, to hide from its shame, it sneaks 
on furtive and lying paths. 

"This would be the highest to my mind" — thus says 
your lying spirit to itself — "to look at life without desire 
and not, like a dog, with my tongue hanging out. To be 
happy in looking, with a will that has died and without 
the grasping and greed of selfishness, the whole body 
cold and ashen, but with drunken moon eyes. This I 
should like best" — thus the seduced seduces himself — 
"to love the earth as the moon loves her, and to touch 
her beauty only with my eyes. And this is what the im- 
maculate perception of all things shall mean to me: that 
I want nothing from them, except to be allowed to lie 
prostrate before them like a mirror with a hundred 

O you sentimental hypocrites, you lechers! You lack 
innocence in your desire and therefore you slander all 

desire. Verily, it is not as creators, procreators, and 
those who have joy in becoming that you love the earth. 
Where is innocence? Where there is a will to procreate. 
And he who wants to create beyond himself has the 
purest will. 

Where is beauty? Where I must will with all my will; 
where I want to love and perish that an image may not 
remain a mere image. Loving and perishing: that has 
rhymed for eternities. The will to love, that is to be 
willing also to die. Thus I speak to you cowards! 

But now your emasculated leers wish to be called 
"contemplation." And that which permits itself to be 
touched by cowardly glances you would baptize "beauti- 
ful." How you soil noble names! 

But this shall be your curse, you who are immaculate, 
you pure perceivers, that you shall never give birth, 
even if you lie broad and pregnant on the horizon. 
Verily, you fill your mouth with noble words; and are 
we to believe that your heart is overflowing, you liars? 
But my words are small, despised, crooked words: 
gladly I pick up what falls under the table at your 
meals. I can still use it to tell hypocrites the truth. 
Indeed, my fishbones, clamshells, and thorny leaves 
shall tickle the noses of hypocrites. Bad air always sur- 
rounds you and your meals: for your lecherous thoughts, 
your lies and secrets, are in the air. Would that you 
dared to believe yourselves — yourselves and your en- 
trails. Whoever does not believe himself always lies. 

Behind a god's mask you hide from yourselves, in 
your "purity"; your revolting worm has crawled into a 
god's mask. Verily, you deceive with your "contempla- 
tion." Zarathustra too was once fooled by your godlike 
skins and did not realize that they were stuffed with 
snakes' coils. I once fancied that I saw a god's soul at 
play in your play, you pure perceivers. No better art I 


once fancied than your arts. Snakes' filth and bad odors 
were concealed from me by the distance, and that the 
cunning of a lizard was crawling around lecherously. 

But I came close to you, and the day dawned on me, 
and now it dawns on you too; the moon's love has come 
to an end. Look therel Caught and pale he stands there, 
confronted by the dawn. For already she approaches, 
glowing; her love for the earth approaches. All solar 
love is innocence and creative longing. 

Look there: how she approaches impatiently over the 
sea. Do you not feel the thirst and the hot breath of 
her love? She would suck at the sea and drink its depth 
into her heights; and the sea's desire rises toward her 
with a thousand breasts. It wants to be kissed and 
sucked by the thirst of the sun; it wants to become air 
and height and a footpath of light, and itself light. 

Verily, like the sun I love life and all deep seas. And 
this is what perceptive knowledge means to me: all that 
is deep shall rise up to my heights. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


As I lay asleep, a sheep ate of the ivy wreath on my 
brow — ate and said, "Zarathustra is no longer a scholar." 
Said it and strutted away proudly. A child told it to me. 

I like to lie here where the children play, beside the 
broken wall, among thistles and red poppies. I am still 
a scholar to the children, and also to the thistles and red 
poppies. They are innocent even in their malice. But to 
the sheep I am no longer a scholar; thus my lot decrees 
it — bless itl 

For this is the truth: I have moved from the house of 
the scholars and I even banged the door behind me. My 

soul sat hungry at their table too long; I am not, like 
them, trained to pursue knowledge as if it were nut- 
cracking. I love freedom and the air over the fresh 
earth; rather would I sleep on ox hides than on their 
decorums and respectabilities. 

I am too hot and bumed by my own thoughts; often 
it nearly takes my breath away. Then I must go out into 
the open and away from all dusty rooms. But they sit 
cool in the cool shade: in everything they want to be 
mere spectators, and they beware of sitting where the 
sun burns on the steps. Like those who stand in the 
street and gape at the people who pass by, they too 
wait and gape at thoughts that others have thought. 

If you seize them with your hands they raise a cloud 
of dust like flour bags, involuntarily; but who could 
guess that their dust comes from grain and from the 
yellow delight of summer fields? When they pose as 
wise, their little epigrams and truths chill me: their 
wisdom often has an odor as if it came from the 
swamps; and verily, I have also heard frogs croak out of 
it. They are skillful and have clever fingers: why would 
my simplicity want to be near their multiplicity? All 
threading and knotting and weaving their fingers under- 
stand: thus they knit the socks of the spirit. 

They are good clockworks; but take care to wind 
them correctly! Then they indicate the hour without fail 
and make a modest noise. They work like mills and 
like stamps: throw down your seed-corn to them and 
they will know how to grind it small and reduce it 
to white dust. 

They watch each other closely and mistrustfully. In- 
ventive in petty cleverness, they wait for those whose 
knowledge walks on lame feet: like spiders they wait. I 
have always seen them carefully preparing poison; and 


they always put on gloves of glass to do it. They also 
know how to play with loaded dice; and I have seen 
them play so eagerly that they sweated. 

We are alien to each other, and their virtues are even 
more distasteful to me than their falseness and their 
loaded dice. And when I lived with them, I lived above 
them. That is why they developed a grudge against me. 
They did not want to hear how someone was living 
over their heads; and so they put wood and earth and 
filth between me and their heads. Thus they muffled the 
sound of my steps: and so far I have been heard least 
well by the most scholarly. Between themselves and me 
they laid all human faults and weaknesses: "false ceil- 
ings" they call them in their houses. And yet I live over 
their heads with my thoughts; and even if I wanted to 
walk upon my own mistakes, I would still be over their 

For men are not equal: thus speaks justice. And what 
I want, they would have no right to wantl 
Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


"Since I have come to know the body better," Zara- 
thustra said to one of his disciples, "the spirit is to me 
only quasi-spirit; and all that is 'permanent' is also a 
mere parable." 

"I have heard you say that once before," the disciple 
replied; "and at that time you added, 'But the poets lie 
too much.' Why did you say that the poets lie too 

"Why?" said Zarathustra. "You ask, why? I am not 
one of those whom one may ask about their why. Is my 
experience but of yesterday? It was long ago that I 

experienced the reasons for my opinions. Would I not 
have to be a barrel of memory if I wanted to carry my 
reasons around with me? It is already too much for me 
to remember my own opinions; and many a bird flies 
away. And now and then I also find a stray in my dove- 
cot that is strange to me and trembles when I place my 
hand on it. But what was it that Zarathustra once said to 
you? That the poets lie too much? But Zarathustra too 
is a poet. Do you now believe that he spoke the truth 
here? Why do you believe that?" 

The disciple answered, "I believe in Zarathustra." 
But Zarathustra shook his head and smiled. 

"Faith does not make me blessed," he said, "especially 
not faith in me. But suppose somebody said in all seri- 
ousness, the poets lie too much: he would be right; we 
do lie too much. We also know too little and we are 
bad learners; so we simply have to lie. And who among 
us poets has not adulterated his wine? Many a poisonous 
hodgepodge has been contrived in our cellars; much 
that is indescribable was accomplished there. And be- 
cause we know so little, the poor in spirit please us 
heartily, particularly when they are young females. And 
we are covetous even of those things which the old 
females tell each other in the evening. That is what we 
ourselves call the Eternal-Feminine in us. And, as if 
there were a special secret access to knowledge, buried 
for those who learn something, we believe in the people 
and their 'wisdom.' 

"This, however, all poets believe: that whoever 
pricks up his ears as he lies in the grass or on lonely 
slopes will find out something about those things that 
are between heaven and earth. And when they feel 
tender sentiments stirring, the poets always fancy that 
nature herself is in love with them; and that she is 


creeping to their ears to tell them secrets and amorous 
flatteries; and of this they brag and boast before all 

"Alas, there are so many things between heaven and 
earth of which only the poets have dreamed. 

"And especially above the heavens: for all gods are 
poets' parables, poets' prevarications. Verily, it always 
lifts us higher — specifically, to the realm of the clouds: 
upon these we place our motley bastards and call them 
gods and overmen. For they are just light enough for 
these chairs — all these gods and overmen. Ah, how 
weary I am of all the imperfection which must at all 
costs become eventl Ah, how weary I am of poets!" 

When Zarathustra spoke thus, his disciple was angry 
with him, but he remained silent. And Zarathustra too 
remained silent; and his eye had turned inward as if he 
were gazing into vast distances. At last he sighed and 
drew a deep breath. 

"I am of today and before," he said then, "but there 
is something in me that is of tomorrow and the day after 
tomorrow and time to come. I have grown weary of the 
poets, the old and the new: superficial they all seem to 
me, and shallow seas. Their thoughts have not pene- 
trated deeply enough; therefore their feelings did not 
touch bottom. 

"Some lust and some boredom: that has so far been 
their best reflection. All their harp jingling is to me the 
breathing and flitting of ghosts; what have they ever 
known of the fervor of tones? 

"Nor are they clean enough for me: they all muddy 
their waters to make them appear deep. And they like 
to pose as reconcilers: but mediators and mixers they 
remain for me, and half-and-half and unclean. 

"Alas, I cast my net into their seas and wanted to 
catch good fish; but I always pulled up the head of 

some old god. Thus the sea gave him who was hungry a 
stone. And they themselves may well have come from 
the sea. Certainly, pearls are found in them: they are 
that much more similar to hard shellfish. And instead 
of a soul I often found salted slime in them. 

"From the sea they learned even its vanity: is not the 
sea the peacock of peacocks? Even before the ugliest 
buffalo it still spreads out its tail, and never wearies of 
its lace fan of silver and silk. Sulky, the buffalo stares 
back, close to the sand in his soul, closer still to the 
thicket, closest of all to the swamp. What are beauty 
and sea and peacock's finery to him? This parable I 
offer the poets. Verily, their spirit itself is the peacock of 
peacocks and a sea of vanity! The spirit of the poet 
craves spectators — even if only buffaloes. 

"But I have grown weary of this spirit; and I foresee 
that it will grow weary of itself. I have already seen the 
poets changed, with their glances turned back on them- 
selves. I saw ascetics of the spirit approach; they grew 
out of the poets." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


There is an island in the sea — not far from Zara- 
thustra's blessed isles — on which a fire-spewing moun- 
tain smokes continually; and the people say of it, and 
especially the old women among the people say, that 
it has been placed like a huge rock before the gate to 
the underworld, and that the narrow path that leads to 
this gate to the underworld goes through the fire-spew- 
ing mountain. 

Now it was during the time when Zarathustra was 
staying on the blessed isles that a ship anchored at the 
island with the smoking mountain and the crew went 


ashore to shoot rabbits. Around noon, however, when 
the captain and his men were together again, they sud- 
denly saw a man approach through the air, and a voice 
said distinctly, "It is time! It is high time!" And when 
the shape had come closest to them — and it flew by 
swiftly as a shadow in the direction of the fire-spewing 
mountain — they realized with a great sense of shock 
that it was Zarathustra; for all of them had seen him 
before, except the captain, and they loved him as the 
people love — with a love that is mixed with an equal 
amount of awe. "Look there!" said the old helmsman. 
"There is Zarathustra descending to hell!" 

At the time these seamen landed at the isle of fire 
there was a rumor abroad that Zarathustra had dis- 
appeared; and when his friends were asked, they 
said that he had embarked by night without saying 
where he intended to go. Thus uneasiness arose; and 
after three days the story of the seamen was added to 
this uneasiness; and now all the people said that the 
devil had taken Zarathustra. His disciples laughed at 
such talk to be sure, and one of them even said, "Sooner 
would I believe that Zarathustra has taken the devil." 
But deep in their souls they were all of them full of 
worry and longing; thus their joy was great when on the 
fifth day Zarathustra appeared among them. 

And this is the story of Zarathustra's conversation 
with the fire hound: 

"The earth," he said, "has a skin, and this skin has 
diseases. One of these diseases, for example, is called 
'man.' And another one of these diseases is called 'fire 
hound': about him men have told each other, and be- 
lieved, many lies. To get to the bottom of this mystery 
I went over the sea, and I have seen truth naked — 
verily, barefoot up to the throat. Now I am informed 
concerning the fire hound, and also concerning all scum- 


and overthrow devils, of whom not only old women 
are afraid. 

" 'Out with you, fire hound! Out from your depth!' I 
cried. 'And confess how deep this depth is! Whence 
comes what you are snorting up here? You drink copi- 
ously from the sea: your salty eloquence shows that. 
Indeed, for a hound of the depth you take your nourish- 
ment too much from the surface. At most, I take you for 
the earth's ventriloquist; and whenever I have heard 
overthrow- and scum-devils talking, I found them like 
you: salty, mendacious, and superficial. You know how 
to bellow and to darken with ashes. You are the best 
braggarts and great experts in the art of making mud 
seethe. Wherever you are, mud must always be nearby, 
and much that is spongy, cavernous, compressed — and 
wants freedom. Freedom is what all of you like best 
to bellow; but I have outgrown the belief in "great 
events" wherever there is much bellowing and smoke. 

"'Believe me, friend Hellishnoise: the greatest events 
— they are not our loudest but our stillest hours. Not 
around the inventors of new noise, but around the 
inventors of new values does the world revolve; it 
revolves inaudibhj. 

"'Admit it! Whenever your noise and smoke were 
gone, very little had happened. What does it matter if 
a town became a mummy and a statue lies in the mud? 
And this word I shall add for those who overthrow 
statues: nothing is more foolish than casting salt into the 
sea and statues into the mud. The statue lay in the mud 
of your contempt; but precisely this is its law, that out 
of contempt life and living beauty come back to it. It 
rises again with more godlike features, seductive 
through suffering; and verily, it will yet thank you for 
having overthrown it, O you overthrowers. This counsel, 
however, I give to kings and churches and everything 


that is weak with age and weak in virtue: let yourselves 
be overthrown — so that you may return to life, and 
virtue return to you.' 

"Thus I spoke before the fire hound; then he inter- 
rupted me crossly and asked, 'Church? What is that?' 

" 'Church?' I answered. 'That is a kind of state — the 
most mendacious kind. But be still, you hypocritical 
hound! You know your own kind bestl Like you, the 
state is a hypocritical hound; like you, it likes to talk 
with smoke and bellowing — to make himself believe, 
like you, that he is talking out of the belly of reality. 
For he wants to be by all means the most important 
beast on earth, the state; and they believe him too.' 

"When I had said that, the fire hound carried on as 
if crazy with envy. 'What?' he cried, 'the most important 
beast on earth? And they believe him too?' And so much 
steam and so many revolting voices came out of his 
throat that I thought he would suffocate with anger and 

"At last, he grew calmer and his gasping eased; and 
as soon as he was calm I said, laughing, 'You are angry, 
fire hound; so I am right about youl And that I may 
continue to be right, let me tell you about another fire 
hound. He really speaks out of the heart of the earth. 
He exhales gold and golden rain; thus his heart wants 
it. What are ashes and smoke and hot slime to him? 
Laughter flutters out of him like colorful clouds; nor is 
he well disposed toward your gurgling and spewing 
and intestinal rumblings. This gold, however, and this 
laughter he takes from the heart of the earth; for — 
know this — the heart of the earth is of gold.' 

"When the fire hound heard this he could no longer 
bear listening to me. Shamed, he drew in his tail, in a 
cowed manner said 'bow-wow,' and crawled down into 
his cave." 


Thus related Zarathustra. But his disciples barely 
listened, so great was their desire to tell him of the sea- 
men, the rabbits, and the flying man. 

"What shall I think of that?" said Zarathustra; "am I 
a ghost then? But it must have been my shadow. I sup- 
pose you have heard of the wanderer and his shadow? 
This, however, is clear: I must watch it more closely — 
else it may yet spoil my reputation." 

And once more Zarathustra shook his head and won- 
dered. "What shall I think of that?" he said once more. 
"Why did the ghost cry, 'It is time! It is high time!* 
High time for what?" 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


" — And I saw a great sadness descend upon mankind. 
The best grew weary of their works. A doctrine ap- 
peared, accompanied by a faith: 'All is empty, all is the 
same, all has been!' And from all the hills it echoed: 
'All is empty, all is the same, all has been!' Indeed we 
have harvested: but why did all our fruit turn rotten 
and brown? What fell down from the evil moon last 
night? In vain was all our work; our wine has turned to 
poison; an evil eye has seared our fields and hearts. We 
have all become dry; and if fire should descend on us, 
we should turn to ashes; indeed, we have wearied the 
fire itself. All our wells have dried up; even the sea 
has withdrawn. All the soil would crack, but the depth 
refuses to devour. 'Alas, where is there still a sea in 
which one might drown?" thus are we wailing across 
shallow swamps. Verily, we have become too weary 
even to die. We are still waking and living on — in 

Thus Zarathustra heard a soothsayer speak, and the 


prophecy touched his heart and changed him. He 
walked about sad and weary; and he became like those 
of whom the soothsayer had spoken. 

"Verily," he said to his disciples, "little is lacking and 
this long twilight will come. Alas, how shall I save my 
light through it? It must not suffocate in this sadness. 
For it shall be a light for distant worlds and even more 
distant nights." 

Thus grieved in his heart, Zarathustra walked about; 
and for three days he took neither food nor drink, had 
no rest, and lost his speech. At last he fell into a deep 
sleep. But his disciples sat around him in long night 
watches and waited with great concern for him to wake 
and speak again and recover from his melancholy. 

And this is the speech of Zarathustra when he awoke; 
but his voice came to his disciples as if from a great 

"Listen to the dream which I dreamed, my friends, 
and help me guess its meaning. This dream is still a 
riddle to me; its meaning is concealed in it and im- 
prisoned and does not yet soar above it with unfettered 

"I had turned my back on all life, thus I dreamed. I 
had become a night watchman and a guardian of tombs 
upon the lonely mountain castle of death. Up there I 
guarded his coffins: the musty vaults were full of such 
marks of triumph. Life that had been overcome, looked 
at me out of glass coffins. I breathed the odor of dusty 
eternities: sultry and dusty lay my soul. And who could 
have aired his soul there? 

"The brightness of midnight was always about me; 
loneliness crouched next to it; and as a third, death-rat- 
tle silence, the worst of my friends. I had keys, the 
rustiest of fill keys; and I knew how to use them to 
open the most creaking of all gates. Like a wickedly 

angry croaking, the sound ran through the long corridors 
when the gate's wings moved: fiendishly cried this bird, 
ferocious at being awakened. Yet still more terrible and 
heart-constricting was the moment when silence re- 
turned and it grew quiet about me, and I sat alone in 
this treacherous silence. 

"Thus time passed and crawled, if time still existed — 
how should I know? But eventually that happened 
which awakened me. Thrice, strokes struck at the gate 
like thunder; the vaults echoed and howled thrice; then 
I went to the gate. 'Alpa,' I cried, 'who is carrying his 
ashes up the mountain? Alpa! Alpa! Who is carrying his 
ashes up the mountain?' And I pressed the key and 
tried to lift the gate and exerted myself; but still it did 
not give an inch. Then a roaring wind tore its wings 
apart; whistling, shrilling, and piercing, it cast up a 
black coffin before me. 

"And amid the roaring and whistling and shrilling the 
coffin burst and spewed out a thousandfold laughter. 
And from a thousand grimaces of children, angels, owls, 
fools, and butterflies as big as children, it laughed and 
mocked and roared at me. Then I was terribly fright- 
ened; it threw me to the ground. And I cried in horror 
as I have never cried. And my own cry awakened me — 
and I came to my senses." 

Thus Zarathustra told his dream and then became 
silent; for as yet he did not know, the interpretation of 
his dream. But the disciple whom he loved most rose 
quickly, took Zarathustra's hand, and said: 

"Your life itself interprets this dream for us, O Zara- 
thustra. Are you not yourself the wind with the shrill 
whistling that tears open the gates of the castles of 
death? Are you not yourself the coffin full of colorful 
sarcasms and the angelic grimaces of life? Verily, like 
a thousandfold children's laughter Zarathustra enters 


all death chambers, laughing at all the night watchmen 
and guardians of tombs and at whoever else is rattling 
with gloomy keys. You will frighten and prostrate them 
with your laughter; and your power over them will 
make them faint and wake them. And even when the 
long twilight and the weariness of death come, you will 
not set in our sky, you advocate of life. New stars you 
have let us see, and new wonders of the night; verily, 
laughter itself you have spread over us like a colorful 
tent. Henceforth children's laughter will well forth from 
all coffins; henceforth a strong wind will come trium- 
phantly to all weariness of death: of this you yourself 
are our surety and soothsayer. Verily, this is what you 
dreamed of: your enemies. That was your hardest 
dream. But as you woke from them and came to your 
senses, thus they shall awaken from themselves — and 
come to you." 

Thus spoke the disciple; and all the others crowded 
around Zarathustra and took hold of his hands and 
wanted to persuade him to leave his bed and his sadness 
and to return to them. But Zarathustra sat erect on his 
resting place with a strange look in his eyes. Like one 
coming home from a long sojourn in strange lands, he 
looked at his disciples and examined their faces; and 
as yet he did not recognize them. But when they lifted 
him up and put him on his feet, behold, his eyes sud- 
denly changed; he comprehended all that had hap- 
pened, stroked his beard, and said in a strong voice: 

"Now then, there is a time for this too. But see to it, 
my disciples, that we shall have a good meal, and soon. 
Thus I plan to atone for bad dreams. The soothsayer, 
however, shall eat and drink by my side; and verily, I 
shall show him a sea in which he can drown." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. But then he looked a long 

time into the face of the disciple who had played the 
dream interpreter and he shook his head. 


When Zarathustra crossed over the great bridge one 
day the cripples and beggars surrounded him, and a 
hunchback spoke to him thus: "Behold, Zarathustra. 
The people too leam from you and come to believe in 
your doctrine; but before they will believe you entirely 
one thing is still needed: you must first persuade us 
cripples. Now here you have a fine selection and, verily, 
an opportunity with more than one handle. You can 
heal the blind and make the lame walk; and from him 
who has too much behind him you could perhaps take 
away a little. That, I think, would be the right way to 
make the cripples believe in Zarathustra." 

But Zarathustra replied thus to the man who had 
spoken: "When one takes away the hump from the 
hunchback one takes away his spirit — thus teach the 
people. And when one restores his eyes to the blind 
man he sees too many wicked things on earth, and he 
will curse whoever healed him. But whoever makes the 
lame walk does him the greatest harm: for when he can 
walk his vices run away with him — thus teach the 
people about cripples. And why should Zarathustra not 
leam from the people when the people leam from 

"But this is what matters least to me since I have 
been among men: to see that this one lacks an eye and 
that one an ear and a third a leg, while there are others 
who have lost their tongues or their noses or their heads. 
I see, and have seen, what is worse, and many things 
so vile that I do not want to speak of everything; and 


concerning some things I do not even like to be silent: 
for there are human beings who lack everything, except 
one thing of which they have too much — human beings 
who are nothing but a big eye or a big mouth or a big 
belly or anything at all that is big. Inverse cripples I 
call them. 

"And when I came out of my solitude and crossed 
over this bridge for the first time I did not trust my 
eyes and looked and looked again, and said at last, 'An 
earl An ear as big as a man!' I looked still more closely 
— and indeed, underneath the ear something was mov- 
ing, something pitifully small and wretched and slender. 
And, no doubt of it, the tremendous ear was attached 
to a small, thin stalk — but this stalk was a human being! 
If one used a magnifying glass one could even recognize 
a tiny envious face; also, that a bloated little soul was 
dangling from the stalk. The people, however, told me 
that this great ear was not only a human being, but a 
great one, a genius. But I never believed the people 
when they spoke of great men; and I maintained my 
belief that it was an inverse cripple who had too little 
of everything and too much of one thing." 

When Zarathustra had spoken thus to the hunchback 
and to those whose mouthpiece and advocate the 
hunchback was, he turned to his disciples in profound 
dismay and said: "Verily, my friends, I walk among 
men as among the fragments and limbs of men. This is 
what is terrible for my eyes, that I find man in ruins and 
scattered as over a battlefield or a butcher-field. And 
when my eyes flee from the now to the past, they al- 
ways find the same: fragments and limbs and dreadful 
accidents — but no human beings. 

"The now and the past on earth — alas, my friends, 
that is what 1 find most unendurable; and I should not 
know how to live if I were not also a seer of that which 

must come. A seer, a wilier, a creator, a future himself 
and a bridge to the future — and alas, also, as it were, a 
cripple at this bridge: all this is Zarathustra. 

"And you too have often asked yourselves, 'Who is 
Zarathustra to us? What shall be call him?' And, like 
myself, you replied to yourselves with questions. Is he 
a promiser? or a fulfiller? A conqueror? or an inheritor? 
An autumn? or a plowshare? A physician? or one who 
has recovered? Is he a poet? or truthful? A liberator? 
or a tamer? good? or evil? 

"I walk among men as among the fragments of the 
future — that future which I envisage. And this is all my 
creating and striving, that I create and carry together 
into One what is fragment and riddle and dreadful 
accident. And how could I bear to be a man if man 
were not also a creator and guesser of riddles and 
redeemer of accidents? 

"To redeem those who lived in the past and to re- 
create all 'it was' into a 'thus I willed it' — that alone 
should I call redemption. Will — that is the name of the 
liberator and joy-bringer; thus I taught you, my friends. 
But now leam this too: the will itself is still a prisoner. 
Willing liberates; but what is it that puts even the lib- 
erator himself in fetters? 'It was' — that is the name of 
the will's gnashing of teeth and most secret melancholy. 
Powerless against what has been done, he is an angry 
spectator of all that is past. The will cannot will back- 
wards; and that he cannot break time and time's 
covetousness, that is the will's loneliest melancholy. 

"Willing liberates; what means does the will devise 
for himself to get rid of his melancholy and to mock 
his dungeon? Alas, every prisoner becomes a fool; and 
the imprisoned will redeems himself foolishly. That time 
does not run backwards, that is his wrath; 'that which 
was' is the name of the stone he cannot move. And so 


he moves stones out of wrath and displeasure, and he 
wreaks revenge on whatever does not feel wrath and 
displeasure as he does. Thus the will, the liberator, took 
to hurting; and on all who can suffer he wreaks revenge 
for his inability to go backwards. This, indeed this 
alone, is what revenge is: the will's ill will against time 
and its 'it was.' 

"Verily, a great folly dwells in our will; and it has 
become a curse for everything human that this folly has 
acquired spirit. 

"The spirit of revenge, my friends, has so far been the 
subject of man's best reflection; and where there was 
suffering, one always wanted punishment too. 

"For 'punishment' is what revenge calls itself; with a 
hypocritical lie it creates a good conscience for itself. 

"Because there is suffering in those who will, inas- 
much as they cannot will backwards, willing itself and 
all life were supposed to be — a punishment. And now 
cloud upon cloud rolled over the spirit, until eventually 
madness preached, 'Everything passes away; therefore 
everything deserves to pass away. And this too is justice, 
this law of time that it must devour its children.' Thus 
preached madness. 

" 'Things are ordered morally according to justice and 
punishment. Alas, where is redemption from the flux of 
things and from the punishment called existence?' Thus 
preached madness. 

" 'Can there be redemption if there is eternal justice? 
Alas, the stone It was cannot be moved: all punishments 
must be eternal too.' Thus preached madness. 

'"No deed can be annihilated: how could it be un- 
done by punishment? This, this is what is eternal in the 
punishment called existence, that existence must eter- 
nally become deed and guilt again. Unless the will 
should at last redeem himself, and willing should be- 

come not willing.' But, my brothers, you know this- 
fable of madness. 

"I led you away from these fables when I taught you, 
"The will is a creator.' All 'it was' is a fragment, a rid- 
dle, a dreadful accident — until the creative will says to- 
it, 'But thus I willed it.' Until the creative will says to- 
it, 'But thus I will it; thus shall I will it.' 

"But has the will yet spoken thus? And when will 
that happen? Has the will been unharnessed yet from 
his own folly? Has the will yet become his own re- 
deemer and joy-bringer? Has he unlearned the spirit of 
revenge and all gnashing of teeth? And who taught him 
reconciliation with time and something higher than any 
reconciliation? For that will which is the will to power 
must will something higher than any reconciliation; but 
how shall this be brought about? Who could teach him 
also to will backwards?" 

At this point in his speech it happened that Zara- 
thustra suddenly stopped and looked altogether like one 
who has received a severe shock. Appalled, he looked 
at his disciples; his eyes pierced their thoughts and the 
thoughts behind their thoughts as with arrows. But after 
a little while he laughed again and, pacified, he said: 
"It is difficult to live with people because silence is so 
difficult. Especially for one who is garrulous." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 

The hunchback, however, had listened to this dis- 
course and covered his face the while; but when he 
heard Zarathustra laugh he looked up curiously and 
said slowly: "But why does Zarathustra speak otherwise 
to us than to his disciples?" 

Zarathustra answered: "What is surprising in that? 
With hunchbacks one may well speak in a hunchbacked 


"All right," said the hunchback; "and one may well 
tell pupils tales out of school. But why does Zarathustra 
speak otherwise to his pupils than to himself?" 


Not the height but the precipice is terrible. That 
precipice where the glance plunges down and the hand 
reaches up. There the heart becomes giddy confronted 
with its double will. Alas, friends, can you guess what is 
my heart's double will? 

This, this is my precipice and my danger, that my 
glance plunges into the height and that my hand would 
grasp and hold on to the depth. My will clings to man; 
with fetters I bind myself to man because I am swept 
up toward the overman; for that way my other will 
wants to go. And therefore I live blind among men as 
if I did not know them, that my hand might not wholly 
lose its faith in what is firm. 

I do not know you men: this darkness and consolation 
are often spread around me. I sit at the gateway, ex- 
posed to every rogue, and I ask: who wants to deceive 
me? That is the first instance of my human prudence, 
that I let myself be deceived in order not to be on guard 
against deceivers. Alas, if I were on guard against men, 
how could man then be an anchor for my ball? I should 
be swept up and away too easily. This providence lies 
over my destiny, that I must be without caution. 

And whoever does not want to die of thirst among 
men must leam to drink out of all cups; and whoever 
would stay clean among men must know how to wash 
even with dirty water. And thus I often comforted my- 
self, "Well then, old heart! One misfortune failed you; 
enjoy this as your good fortune." 

This, however, is the second instance of my human 
prudence: I spare the vain more than the proud. Is not 
hurt vanity the mother of all tragedies? But where pride 
is hurt, there something better than pride is likely to 

That life may be good to look at, its play must be 
well acted; but for that good actors are needed. All the 
vain are good actors: they act and they want people 
to enjoy looking at them; all their spirit is behind 
this will. They enact themselves, they invent them- 
selves; near them I love to look at life: that cures my 
melancholy. Therefore I spare the vain, for they are the 
physicians of my melancholy and keep me attached to 
life as to a play. 

And then: who could fathom the full depth of the 
modesty of the vain man? I am well disposed to him 
and I pity his modesty. It is from you that he wants to 
acquire his faith in himself; he nourishes himself on 
your glances, he eats your praise out of your hands. He 
even believes your lies if you lie well about him; for, at 
bottom, his heart sighs: what am 7? And if the true 
virtue is the one that is unaware of itself — well, the 
vain man is unaware of his modesty. 

This, however, is the third instance of my human 
prudence: that I do not permit the sight of the evil to 
be spoiled for me by your timidity. I am delighted to 
see the wonders hatched by a hot sun: tigers and palms 
and rattlesnakes. Among men too a hot sun hatches a 
beautiful breed. And there are many wonderful things 
in those who are evil. 

To be sure, even as your wisest men did not strike 
me as so very wise, I found men's evil too smaller than 
its reputation. And often I asked myself, shaking my 
head: why go on rattling, you rattlesnakes? 


Verily, there is yet a future for evil too. And the 
hottest south has not yet been discovered for man. How 
many things are now called grossest wickedness and 
are yet only twelve shoes wide and three months longl 
One day, however, bigger dragons will come into this 
world. For in order that the overman should not lack 
his dragon, the overdragon that is worthy of him, much 
hot sunshine must yet glow upon damp jungles. Your 
wildcats must first turn into tigers, and your poisonous 
toads into crocodiles; for the good hunter shall have 
good hunting. 

Verily, you who are good and just, there is much 
about you that is laughable, and especially your fear 
of that which has hitherto been called devil. What is 
great is so alien to your souls that the overman would 
be awesome to you in his kindness. And you who are 
wise and knowing, you would flee from the burning 
sun of that wisdom in which the overman joyously 
bathes his nakedness. You highest men whom my eyes 
have seen, this is my doubt concerning you and my 
secret laughter: I guess that you would call my over- 
man — devil. 

Alas, I have wearied of these highest and best men: 
from their "height" I longed to get up, out, and away 
to the overman. A shudder came over me when I saw 
these best ones naked; then I grew wings to soar off 
into distant futures. Into more distant futures, into more 
southern souths than any artist ever dreamed of — where 
gods are ashamed of all clothes. But I want to see you 
disguised, my neighbors and fellow men, and well 
decked out, and vain, and dignified, as "the good and 
the just." And I myself want to sit among you dis- 
guised — misjudging you and myself: for that is the 
final instance of my human prudence. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 



What happened to me, my friends? You see me dis- 
tracted, driven away, unwillingly obedient, prepared to 
go— alas, to go away from you. Indeed, Zarathustra 
must return once more to his solitude; but this time 
the bear goes back to his cave without joy. What hap- 
pened to me? Who ordered this? Alas, my angry mis- 
tress wants it, she spoke to me; have I ever yet 
mentioned her name to you? Yesterday, toward evening, 
there spoke to me my stillest hour: that is the name of 
my awesome mistress. And thus it happened; for I must 
tell you everything lest your hearts harden against me 
for departing suddenly. 

Do you know the fright of him who falls asleep? He 
is frightened down to his very toes because the ground 
gives under him and the dream begins. This I say to 
you as a parable. Yesterday, in the stillest hour, the 
ground gave under me, the dream began. The hand 
moved, the clock of my life drew a breath; never had 
I heard such stillness around me: my heart took fright. 

Then it spoke to me without voice: "You know it, 
Zarathustra?" And I cried with fright at this whispering, 
and the blood left my face; but I remained silent. 

Then it spoke to me again without voice: "You know 
it, Zarathustra, but you do not say it!" And at last I 
answered defiantly: "Yes, I know it, but I do not want 
to say it!" 

Then it spoke to me again without voice: "You do 
not want to, Zarathustra? Is this really true? Do not 
hide in your defiance." And I cried and trembled like 
a child and spoke: "Alas, I would like to, but how can 
I? Let me off from this! It is beyond my strength!" 

Then it spoke to me again without voice: "What do 


you matter, Zarathustra? Speak your word and break!" 

And I answered: "Alas, is it my word? Who am 7? 
I await the worthier one; I am not worthy even of being 
broken by it." 

Then it spoke to me again without voice: "What do 
you matter? You are not yet humble enough for me. 
Humility has the toughest hide." And I answered: 
"What has the hide of my humility not bome? I dwell 
at the foot of my height. How high are my peaks? No 
one has told me yet. But my valleys I know well." 

Then it spoke to me again without voice: "O Zara- 
thustra, he who has to move mountains also moves 
valleys and hollows." And I answered: "As yet my 
words have not moved mountains, and what I said did 
not reach men. Indeed, I have gone to men, but as yet 
I have not arrived." 

Then it spoke to me again without voice: "What do 
you know of that? The dew falls on the grass when the 
night is most silent." And I answered: "They mocked 
me when I found and went my own way; and in truth 
my feet were trembling then. And thus they spoke to 
me: 'You have forgotten the way, now you have also 
forgotten how to walk.'" 

Then it spoke to me again without voice: "What 
matters their mockery? You are one who has forgotten 
how to obey: now you shall command. Do you not 
know who is most needed by all? He that commands 
great things. To do great things is difficult; but to 
command great things is more difficult. This is what 
is most unforgivable in you: you have the power, and 
you do not want to rule." And I answered: "I lack the 
lion's voice for commanding." 

Then it spoke to me again as a whisper: "It is the 
stillest words that bring on the storm. Thoughts that 
come on doves' feet guide the world. O Zarathustra, you 

shall go as a shadow of that which must come: thus you 
will command and, commanding, lead the way." And I 
answered: "I am ashamed." 

Then it spoke to me again without voice: "You must 
yet become as a child and without shame. The pride of 
youth is still upon you; you have become young late; 
but whoever would become as a child must overcome 
his youth too." And I reflected for a long time and 
trembled. But at last I said what I had said at first: "I 
do not want to." 

Then laughter surrounded me. Alas, how this laugh- 
ter tore my entrails and slit open my heart! And it 
spoke to me for the last time: "O Zarathustra, your 
fruit is ripe, but you are not ripe for your fruit. Thus 
you must return to your solitude again; for you must 
yet become mellow." And again it laughed and fled; 
then it became still around me as with a double still- 
ness. But I lay on the ground and sweat poured from 
my limbs. 

Now you have heard all, and why I must return to 
my solitude. Nothing have I kept from you, my friends. 
But this too you have heard from me, who is still the 
most taciturn of all men — and wants to be. Alas, my 
friends, I still could tell you something, I still could 
give you something. Why do I not give it? Am I stingy?' 

But when Zarathustra had spoken these words he was 
overcome by the force of his pain and the nearness of 
his parting from his friends, and he wept loudly; and 
no one knew how to comfort him. At night, however, 
he went away alone and left his friends. 


Thus Spoke Zarathustra: Third Part 

You look up when you feel the need for elevation. 
And I look down because I am elevated. Who 
among you can laugh and be elevated at the same 
time? Whoever climbs the highest mountains 
laughs at all tragic plays and tragic seriousness. 
(Zarathustra, "On Reading and Writing," I, p. 

editor's notes 

1. The Wanderer: The contrast between Zarathustra's sen- 
timentality and his praise of hardness remains characteristic 
of the rest of the book. 

2. On the Vision and the Riddle: Zarathustra's first account 
of the eternal recurrence (see my Nietzsche, 11, II) is 
followed by a proto-surrealistic vision of a triumph over 

3. On Involuntary Bliss: Zarathustra still cannot face the 
thought of the eternal recurrence. 

4. Before Sunrise: An ode to the sky. Another quotation 
from Zweig's essay on Nietzsche seems pertinent: "His 
nerves immediately register every meter of height and 
every pressure of the weather as a pain in his organs, and 
they react rebelliously to every revolt in nature. Rain or 
gloomy skies lower his vitality ('overcast skies depress me 
deeply'), the weight of low clouds he feels down into his 
very intestines, rain 'lowers the potential,' humidity debili- 
tates, dryness vivifies, sunshine is salvation, winter is a kind 
of paralysis and death. The quivering barometer needle of 
his April-like, changeable nerves never stands still — most 
nearly perhaps in cloudless landscapes, on the windless table- 
lands of the Engadine." In this chapter the phrase "beyond 
good and evil" is introduced; also one line, slightly varied, 
of the "Drunken Song" (see below ). Another important 


theme in Nietzsche's thought: the praise of chance and "a 
little reason" as opposed to any divine purpose. 

5. On Virtue That Makes Small: "Do whatever you will, 
but . . •": What Nietzsche is concerned with is not casu- 
istry but character, not a code of morals but a kind of man, 
not a syllahus of behavior but a state of being. 

6. Upon the Mount of Olives: " The ice of knowledge will 
yet freeze him to death? they moan." Compare Stefan 
George's poem on the occasion of Nietzsche's death (my 
Nietzsche, Prologue, II ) : "He came too late who said to thee 
imploring: There is no way left over icy cliffs." 

7. On Passing By: Zarathustra's ape, or "grunting swine," 
unintentionally parodies Zarathustra's attitude and style. 
His denunciations are bom of wounded vanity and venge- 
fulness, while Zarathustra's contempt is begotten by love; 
and "where one can no longer love, there one should pass 

8. On Apostates: Stylistically, Zarathustra is now often little 
better than his ape. But occasional epigrams show his old 
power: the third paragraph in section 2, for instance. 

9. The Return Home: "Among men you will always seem 
wild and strange," his solitude says to Zarathustra. But 
"here all things come caressingly to your discourse and flatter 
you, for they want to ride on your back. On every parable 
you ride to every truth." The discipline of communica- 
tion might have served the philosopher better than the 
indiscriminate flattery of his solitude. But in this respect 
too, it was not given to Nietzsche to live in blissful 
ignorance: compare, for example, "The Song of Melan- 
choly" in Part Four. 

10. On the Three Evils: The praise of so-called evil as an 
ingredient of greatness is central in Nietzsche's thought, 
from his early fragment, Homer's Contest, to his Antichrist. 
There are few problems the self-styled immoralist pursued 
so persistently. Whether he calls attention to the element 
of cruelty in the Greek agon or denounces Christianity fof 
vilifying sea, whether he contrasts sublimation and extir- 
pation or the egoism of the creative and the vengeful: all 


these are variations of one theme. In German, the three 
evils in this chapter are Wollust, Herrschsucht, Selbstsucht. 
For the first there is no exact equivalent in English. In 
this chapter, "lust" might do in some sentences, "volup- 
tuousness" in others, but each would be quite inaccurate 
half the time, and the context makes it imperative that 
the same word be used throughout. There is only one 
word in English that renders Nietzsche's meaning perfectly 
in every single sentence: sex. Its only disadvantage: it is, 
to put it mildly, a far less poetic word than Wollust, and 
hence modifies the tone though not Nietzsche's meaning. 
But if we reflect on the three things which, according to 
Nietzsche, had been maligned most, under the influence of 
Christianity, and which he sought to rehabilitate or revalu- 
ate — were they not selfishness, the will to power, and sex? 
Nietzsche's early impact was in some ways comparable to 
that of Freud or Havelock Ellis. But prudery was for him 
at most one of three great evils, one kind of hypocrisy, one 
aspect of man's betrayal of the earth and of himself. 

11. On the Spirit of Gravity: It is not only the metaphor 
of the camel that points back to the first chapter of Part 
One: the dead weight of convention is a prime instance of 
what is meant by the spirit of gravity; and the bird that 
outsoars tradition is, like the child and the self-propelled 
wheel at the beginning of the book, a symbol of creativity. 
The creator, however, is neither an "evil beast" nor an 
"evil tamer of beasts" — neither a profligate nor an ascetic: 
he integrates what is in him, perfects and lavishes him- 
self, and says, "This is my way; where is yours?" Michel- 
angelo and Mozart do not offer us "the way" but a chal- 
lenge and a promise of what is possible. 

12. On Old and New Tablets: Attempt at a grand summary, 
full of allusions to, and quotations from, previous chapters. 
Its unevenness is nowhere more striking than in section 12, 
with its puns on "crusades." Such sections as 5, 7, and 8, 
on the other hand, certainly deserve attention. The despot 
in section 11, who has all history rewritten, seems to point 
forward in time to Hitler, of whose racial legislation it 

could indeed be said: "with the grandfather, however, 
time ends." Section 15 points back to Luther. Section 20 
exposes in advance Stefan George's misconception when he 
ended his second poem on Nietzsche (my Nietzsche, p. 
11): "The warner went — the wheel that downward rolls / 
To emptiness no arm now tackles in the spokes." The 
penultimate paragraph of this section is more "playful" 
in the original: Ein Vorspiel bin ich besserer Spieler, oh 
meine Briider! Ein Beispiel! In section 25 the key word is 
Versuch, one of Nietzsche's favorite words, which means 
experiment, attempt, trial. Sometimes he associates it with 
suchen, searching. (In Chapter 2, "On the Vision and 
the Riddle," Sucher, Versucher has been rendered "search- 
ers, researchers") Section 29, finally, is used again, with 
minute changes, to conclude Twilight of the Idols. 

13. The Convalescent: Zarathustra still cannot face the 
thought of the eternal recurrence but speaks about human 
speech and cruelty. In the end, his animals expound the 
eternal recurrence. 

14. On the Great Longing: Hymn to his soul: Zarathustra 
and his soul wonder which of them should be grateful to 
the other. 

15. The Other Dancing Song: Life and wisdom as women 
again; but in this dancing song, life is in complete control, 
and when Zarathustra's imagination runs away with him 
he gets his face slapped. What he whispers into the ear 
of life at the end of section 2 is, no doubt, that after his 
death he will yet recur eternally. The song at the end, 
punctuated by the twelve strokes of the bell, is interpreted 
in "The Drunken Song" in Part Four. 

16. The Seven Seals: The eternal recurrence of the small 
man no longer nauseates Zarathustra. His affirmation now is 
boundless and without reservation: "For I love you, O 



It was about midnight when Zarathustra started 
across the ridge of the island so that he might reach 
the other coast by early morning; for there he wanted 
to embark. There he would find a good roadstead where 
foreign ships too liked to anchor, and they often took 
along people who wanted to cross the sea from the 
blessed isles. 

Now as Zarathustra was climbing the mountain he 
thought how often since his youth he had wandered 
alone and how many mountains and ridges and peaks 
he had already climbed. 

I am a wanderer and a mountain climber, he said to 
his heart; I do not like the plains, and it seems I cannot 
sit still for long. And whatever may yet come to me as 
destiny and experience will include some wandering 
and mountain climbing: in the end, one experiences 
only oneself. The time is gone when mere accidents 
could still happen to me; and what could still come to 
me now that was not mine already? What returns, what 
finally comes home to me, is my own self and what of 
myself has long been in strange lands and scattered 
among all things and accidents. And one further thing 
I know: I stand before my final peak now and before 
that which has been saved up for me the longest. Alas, 
now I must face my hardest path! Alas, I have begun 
my loneliest walkl But whoever is of my kind cannot 
escape such an hour — the hour which says to him: 

"Only now are you going your way to greatness! 
Peak and abyss — they are now joined together. 

"You are going your way to greatness: now that 
which has hitherto been your ultimate danger has be- 
come your ultimate refuge. 

"You are going your way to greatness: now this must 
give you the greatest courage that there is no longer 
any path behind you. 

"You are going your way to greatness: here nobody 
shall sneak after you. Your own foot has effaced the 
path behind you, and over it there is written: impossi- 

"And if you now lack all ladders, then you must know 
how to climb on your own head: how else would you 
want to climb upward? On your own head and away 
over your own heart! Now what was gentlest in you 
must still become the hardest. He who has always spared 
himself much will in the end become sickly of so much 
consideration. Praised be what hardens! I do not praise 
the land where butter and honey flow. 

"One must learn to look away from oneself in order 
to see much: this hardness is necessary to every climber 
of mountains. 

"But the lover of knowledge who is obtrusive with 
his eyes — how could he see more of all things than 
their foregrounds? But you, O Zarathustra, wanted to 
see the ground and background of all things; hence you 
must climb over yourself — upward, up until even your 
stars are under you!" 

Indeed, to look down upon myself and even upon my 
stars, that alone I should call my peak; that has re- 
mained for me as my ultimate peak. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra to himself as he was climb- 
ing, comforting his heart with hard maxims; for his 
heart was sore as never before. And when he reached 
the height of the ridge, behold, the other sea lay spread 
out before him; and he stood still and remained silent 
a long time. But the night was cold at this height, and 
clear and starry bright. 


I recognize my lot, he finally said sorrowfully. Well, 
I am ready. Now my ultimate loneliness has begun. 

Alas, this black sorrowful sea below me! Alas, this 
pregnant nocturnal dismay! Alas, destiny and sea! To 
you I must now go down! Before my highest mountain 
I stand and before my longest wandering; to that end 
I must first go down deeper than ever I descended — 
deeper into pain than ever I descended, down into its 
blackest flood. Thus my destiny wants it. Well, I am 

Whence come the. highest mountains? I once asked. 
Then I learned that they came out of the sea. The 
evidence is written in their rocks and in the walls of 
their peaks. It is out of the deepest depth that the 
highest must come to its height. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra on the peak of the moun- 
tain, where it was cold; but when he came close to 
the sea and at last stood alone among the cliffs, he had 
become weary from walking and even more full of long- 
ing than before. 

Everything is still asleep now, he said; even the sea 
is asleep. Drunk with sleep and strange it looks at me. 
But its breath is warm, that I feel. And I also feel that 
it is dreaming. In its dreams it tosses on hard pillows. 
Listen! Listen! How it groans with evil memories! Or 
evil forebodings? Alas, I am sad with you, you dark 
monster, and even annoyed with myself for your sake. 
Alas, that my hand does not have strength enough! 
Verily, I should like to deliver you from evil dreams. 

And as Zarathustra was speaking thus he laughed at 
himself in melancholy and bitterness. What, Zarathustra, 
he said, would you sing comfort even to the sea? O you 
loving fool, Zarathustra, you are trust-overfull. But thus 


have you always been: you have always approached 
everything terrible trustfully. You have wanted to pet 
every monster. A whiff of warm breath, a little soft 
tuft on the paw — and at once you were ready to love 
and to lure it. 

Love is the danger of the loneliest; love of every- 
thing if only it is alive. Laughable, verily, are my folly 
and my modesty in love. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra and laughed for the second 
time. But then he recalled his friends whom he had 
left; and, as if he had wronged them with his thoughts, 
he was angry with himself for his thoughts. And soon 
it happened that he who had laughed wept: from 
wrath and longing Zarathustra wept bitterly. 


When it got abroad among the sailors that Zarathus- 
tra was on board — for another man from the blessed 
is^es had embarked with him — there was much curiosity 
and anticipation. But Zarathustra remained silent for 
two days and was cold and deaf from sadness and an- 
swered neither glances nor questions. But on the eve- 
ning of the second day he opened his ears again, 
although he still remained silent, for there was much 
that was strange and dangerous to be heard on this 
ship, which came from far away and wanted to sail 
even farther. But Zarathustra was a friend of all who 
travel far and do not like to live without danger. And 
behold, eventually his own tongue was loosened as he 
listened, and the ice of his heart broke. Then he began 
to speak thus: 

To you, the bold searchers, researchers, and whoever 


embarks with cunning sails on terrible seas — to you, 
drunk with riddles, glad of the twilight, whose soul 
flutes lure astray to every whirlpool, because you do not 
want to grope along a thread with cowardly hand; and 
where you can guess, you hate to deduce — to you 
alone I tell the riddle that I saw, the vision of the 

Not long ago I walked gloomily through the deadly 
pallor of dusk — gloomy and hard, with lips pressed 
together. Not only one sun had set for me. A path that 
ascended defiantly through stones, malicious, lonely, not 
cheered by herb or shrub — a mountain path crunched 
under the defiance of my foot. Striding silently over 
the mocking clatter of pebbles, crushing the rock that 
made it slip, my foot forced its way upward. Upward — 
defying the spirit that drew it downward toward the 
abyss, the spirit of gravity, my devil and archenemy. 
Upward — although he sat on me, half dwarf, half 
mole, lame, making lame, dripping lead into my ear, 
leaden thoughts into my brain. 

"O Zarathustra," he whispered mockingly, syllable by 
syllable; "you philosopher's stonel You threw yourself 
up high, but every stone that is thrown must fall. O 
Zarathustra, you philosopher's stone, you slingstone, 
you star-crusher! You threw yourself up so high; but 
every stone that is thrown must fall. Sentenced to 
yourself and to your own stoning — O Zarathustra, far 
indeed have you thrown the stone, but it will fall back 
on yourself." 

Then the dwarf fell silent, and that lasted a long 
time. His silence, however, oppressed me; and such 
twosomeness is surely more lonesome than being alone. 
I climbed, I climbed, I dreamed, I thought; but every- 
thing oppressed me. I was like one sick whom his 
wicked torture makes weary, and who as he falls asleep 


is awakened by a still more wicked dream. But there is 
something in me that I call courage; that has so far 
slain my every discouragement. This courage finally 
bade me stand still and speak: "Dwarf! It is you or II" 

For courage is the best slayer, courage which attacks; 
for in every attack there is playing and brass. 

Man, however, is the most courageous animal: hence 
he overcame every animal. With playing and brass he 
has so far overcome every pain; but human pain is the 
deepest pain. 

Courage also slays dizziness at the edge of abysses: 
and where does man not stand at the edge of abysses? 
Is not seeing always — seeing abysses? 

Courage is the best slayer: courage slays even pity. 
But pity is the deepest abyss: as deeply as man sees 
into life, he also sees into suffering. 

Courage, however, is the best slayer — courage which 
attacks: which slays even death itself, for it says, "Was 
iliat life? Well then! Once more!" 

In such words, however, there is much playing and 
brass. He that has ears to hear, let him hear! 


"Stop, dwarf!" I said. "It is I or youl But I am the 
stronger of us two: you do not know my abysmal 
thought. That you could not bear!" 

Then something happened that made me lighter, for 
the dwarf jumped from my shoulder, being curious; and 
he crouched on a stone before me. But there was a 
gateway just where we had stopped. 

"Behold this gateway, dwarf!" I continued. "It has 
two faces. Two paths meet here; no one has yet fol- 
lowed either to its end. This long lane stretches back 
for an eternity. And the long lane out there, that is 
another eternity. They contradict each other, these 


paths; they offend each other face to face; and it is 
here at this gateway that they come together. The name 
of the gateway is inscribed above: 'Moment.' But who- 
ever would follow one of them, on and on, farther and 
farther — do you believe, dwarf, that these paths con- 
tradict each other eternally?" 

"All that is straight lies," the dwarf murmured con- 
temptuously. "All truth is crooked; time itself is a 

"You spirit of gravity," I said angrily, "do not make 
things too easy for yourselfl Or I shall let you crouch 
where you are crouching, lamefoot; and it was I that 
carried you to this Jteight. 

"Behold," I continued, "this moment! From this gate- 
way, Moment, a long, eternal lane leads backward: 
behind us lies an eternity. Must not whatever can walk 
have walked on this lane before? Must not whatever 
can happen have happened, have been done, have 
passed by before? And if everything has been there 
before — what do you think, dwarf, of this moment? 
Must not this gateway too have been there before? And 
are not all things knotted together so firmly that this 
moment draws after it all that is to come? Therefore — 
itself too? For whatever can walk — in this long lane out 
there too, it must walk once more. 

"And this slow spider, which crawls in the moonlight, 
and this moonlight itself, and I and you in the gateway, 
whispering together, whispering of eternal things — must 
not all of us have been there before? And return and 
walk in that other lane, out there, before us, in this 
long dreadful lane — must we not eternally return?" 

Thus I spoke, more and more softly; for I was afraid 
of my own thoughts and the thoughts behind my 
thoughts. Then suddenly I heard a dog howl nearby. 
Had I ever heard a dog howl like this? My thoughts 

raced back. Yes, when I was a child, in the most distant 
childhood: then I heard a dog howl like this. And I saw 
him too, bristling, his head up, trembling, in the stillest 
midnight when even dogs believe in ghosts — and I 
took pity: for just then the full moon, silent as death, 
passed over the house; just then it stood still, a round 
glow — still on the flat roof, as if on another's property 
— that was why the dog was terrified, for dogs believe 
in thieves and ghosts. And when I heard such howling 
again I took pity again. 

Where was the dwarf gone now? And the gateway? 
And the spider? And all the whispering? Was I dream- 
ing, then? Was I waking up? 

Among wild cliffs I stood suddenly alone, bleak, in 
the bleakest moonlight. But there lay a man. And there 
— the dog, jumping, bristling, whining — now he saw 
me coming; then he howled again, he cried. Had I ever 
heard a dog cry like this for help? And verily, what I 
saw — I had never seen the like. A young shepherd I 
saw, writhing, gagging, in spasms, his face distorted, 
and a heavy black snake hung out of his mouth. Had 
I ever seen so much nausea and pale dread on one 
face? He seemed to have been asleep when the snake 
crawled into his throat, and there bit itself fast. My 
hand tore at the snake and tore in vain; it did not tear 
the snake out of his throat. Then it cried out of me: 
"Bite! Bite its head off I Bite!" Thus it cried out of me — 
my dread, my hatred, my nausea, my pity, all that is 
good and wicked in me cried out of me with a single 

You bold ones who surround mel You searchers, re- 
searchers, and whoever among you has embarked with 
cunning sails on unexplored seas. You who are glad 
of riddlesl Guess me this riddle that I saw then, inter- 
pret me the vision of the loneliest. For it was a vision 


and a foreseeing. What did I see then in a parable? 
And who is it who must yet come one day? Who is the 
shepherd into whose throat the snake crawled thus? 
Who is the- man into whose throat all that is heaviest 
and blackest will crawl thus? 

The shepherd, however, bit as my cry counseled him; 
he bit with a good bite. Far away he spewed the head 
of the snake — and he jumped up. No longer shepherd, 
no longer human — one changed, radiant, laughingl 
Never yet on earth has a human being laughed as he 
laughedl O my brothers, I heard a laughter that was no 
human laughter; and now a thirst gnaws at me, a long- 
ing that never grows still. My longing for this laughter 
gnaws at me; oh, how do I bear to go on living! And 
how could I bear to die nowl 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


With such riddles and bitternesses in his heart Zara- 
thustra crossed the sea. But when he was four days 
away from the blessed isles and from his friends, he 
had overcome all his pain; triumphant and with firm 
feet he stood on his destiny again. And then Zarathus- 
ba spoke thus to his jubilant conscience: 

I am alone again and I want to be so; alone with 
the pure sky and open sea; again it is afternoon around 
me. It was in the afternoon that I once found my 
friends for the first time; it was afternoon the second 
time too, at the hour when all light grows quieter. For 
whatever of happiness is still on its way between heaven 
and earth now seeks a shelter in a bright soul; it is from 
happiness that all light has grown quieter. 


0 afternoon of my life! Once my happiness too 
descended to the valley to seek shelter; and found those 
open, hospitable souls. O afternoon of my lifel What 
have I not given up to have one single thing: this 
living plantation of my thoughts and this moming light 
of my highest hopel 

Companions the creator once sought, and children of 
his hope; and behold, it turned out that he could 
not find them, unless he first created them himself. 
Thus I am in the middle of my work, going to my 
children and returning from them: for his children's 
sake, Zarathustra must perfect himself. For from the 
depths one loves only one's child and work; and where 
there is great love of oneself it is the sign of pregnancy: 
thus I found it to be. My children are still verdant in 
their first spring, standing close together and shaken by 
the same winds — the trees of my garden and my best 
soil. And verily, where such trees stand together there 
are blessed isles. But one day I want to dig them up 
and place each by itself, so it may leam solitude and 
defiance and caution. Gnarled and bent and with sup- 
ple hardness it shall then stand by the sea, a living 
lighthouse of invincible life. 

Where the storms plunge down into the sea and the 
mountain stretches out its trunk for water, there every 
one shall once have his day and night watches for his 
testing and knowledge. He shall be known and tested, 
whether he is of my kind and kin, whether he is the 
master of a long will, taciturn even when he speaks, 
and yielding so that in giving he receives — so that he 
may one day become my companion and a fellow 
creator and fellow celebrant of Zarathustra — one who 
writes my will on my tablets to contribute to the greater 
perfection of all things. And for his sake and the sake 


of those like him I must perfect myself; therefore I now 
evade my happiness and offer myself to all unhappiness, 
for my final testing and knowledge. 

And verily, it was time for me to leave; and the 
wanderer's shadow and the longest boredom and the 
stillest hour — they all urged me: "It is high time." 
The wind blew through my keyhole and said, "Come!" 
Cunningly, the door flew open and said to me, "Go!" 
But I lay there chained to the love for my children: 
desire set this snare for me — the desire for love that I 
might become my children's prey and lose myself to 
them. Desire — this means to me to have lost myself. 
I have you, my children! In this experience everything 
shall be security and nothing desire. 

But, brooding, the sun of my love lay on me; Zara- 
thustra was cooking in his own juice — then shadows 
and doubts flew over me. I yeamed for frost and 
winter: "Oh, that frost and winter might make me crack 
and crunch againl" I sighed; then icy mists rose from 
me. My past burst its tombs; many a pain that had been 
buried alive awoke, having merely slept, hidden in 
burial shrouds. 

Thus everything called out to me in signs: "It is time!" 
But I did not hear, until at last my abyss stirred and 
my thought bit me. Alas, abysmal thought that is my 
thought, when shall I find the strength to hear you 
burrowing, without trembling any more? My heart 
pounds to my very throat whenever I hear you burrow- 
ing. Even your silence wants to choke me, you who are 
so abysmally silent. As yet I have never dared to sum- 
mon you; it was enough that I carried you with me. 
As yet I have not been strong enough for the final over- 
bearing, prankish bearing of the lion. Your gravity was 
always terrible enough for me; but one day I shall yet 
find the strength and the lion's voice to summon you. 

And once I have overcome myself that far, then I also 
want to overcome myself in what is still greater; and 
a victory shall seal my perfection. 

Meanwhile I still drift on uncertain seas; smooth- 
tongued accident flatters me; forward and backward I 
look, and still see no end. As yet the hour of my final 
struggle has not come to me — or is it coming just now? 
Verily, with treacherous beauty sea and life look at me. 

O afternoon of my life! O happiness before eveningl 

0 haven on the high seas! O peace in uncertainty! How 

1 mistrust all of you! Verily, I am mistrustful of your 
treacherous beauty. I am like the lover who mistrusts 
the all-too-velvet smile. As he pushes his most beloved 
before him, tender even in his hardness, and jealous, 
thus I push this blessed hour before me. 

Away with you, blessed hour: with you bliss came 
to me against my will. Willing to suffer my deepest 
pain, I stand here: you came at the wrong time. 

Away with you, blessed hour: rather seek shelter 
there — with my children. Hurry and bless them before 
evening with my happiness. 

There evening approaches even now: the sun sinks. 
Gone — my happiness! 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. And he waited for his un- 
happiness the entire night, but he waited in vain. The 
night remained bright and still, and happiness itself 
came closer and closer to him. Toward morning, how- 
ever, Zarathustra laughed in his heart and said mock- 
ingly, "Happiness runs after me. That is because I do 
not run after women. For happiness is a woman." 



O heaven above me, pure and deepl You abyss of 
light! Seeing you, I tremble with godlike desires. To 
throw myself into your height, that is my depth. To 
hide in your purity, that is my innocence. 

Gods are shrouded by their beauty; thus you conceal 
your stars. You do not speak; thus you proclaim your 
wisdom to me. Today you rose for me silently over the 
roaring sea; your love and your shyness are a revelation 
to my roaring soul. That you came to me, beautiful, 
shrouded in your beauty, that you speak to me silently, 
revealing your wisdom — oh, how should I not guess 
all that is shy in your soul! Before the sun you came to 
me, the loneliest of all. 

We are friends from the beginning: we share grief 
and ground and gray dread; we even share the sun. 
We do not speak to each other, because we know 
too much; we are silent to each other, we smile our 
knowledge at each other. Are you not the light for my 
fire? Have you not the sister soul to my insight? To- 
gether we have learned everything; together we have 
learned to ascend over ourselves to ourselves and to 
smile cloudlessly — to smile down cloudlessly from 
bright eyes and from a vast distance when constraint 
and contrivance and guilt steam beneath us like rain. 

And when I wandered alone, for whom did my soul 
hunger at night, on false paths? And when I climbed 
mountains, whom did I always seek on the mountains, 
if not you? And all my wandering and mountain climb- 
ing were sheer necessity and a help in my helplessness: 
what I want with all my will is to fly, to fly up into you. 

And whom did I hate more than drifting clouds and 


all that stains you? And I hated even my own hatred 
because it stained you. I loathe the drifting clouds, 
those stealthy great cats which prey on what you and 
I have in common — the uncanny, unbounded Yes and 
Amen. We loathe these mediators and mixers, the drift- 
ing clouds that are half-and-half and have learned 
neither to bless nor to curse from the heart. 

Rather would I sit in a barrel under closed heavens, 
rather sit in the abyss without a heaven, than see you, 
bright heaven, stained by drifting clouds. 

And often I had the desire to tie them fast with the 
jagged golden wires of the lightning, that, like thun- 
der, I might beat the big drums on their kettle-belly — 
an angry kettle-drummer — because they rob me of 
your Yes and Amen, O heaven over me, pure and light! 
You abyss of lightl Because they rob you of my Yes and 
Amen. For I prefer even noise and thunder and storm- 
curses to this deliberate, doubting cats' calm; and 
among men too I hate most of all the soft-treaders and 
those who are half-and-half and doubting, tottering 
drift clouds. 

And "whoever cannot bless should learn to curse" — 
this bright doctrine fell to me from a bright heaven; 
this star stands in my heaven even in black nights. 

But I am one who can bless and say Yes, if only you 
are about me, pure and light, you abyss of light; then 
I carry the blessings of my Yes into all abysses. I have 
become one who blesses and says Yes; and I fought 
long for that and was a fighter that I might one day 
get my hands free to bless. But this is my blessing: to 
stand over every single thing as its own heaven, as its 
round roof, its azure bell, and eternal security; and 
blessed is he who blesses thus. 

For all things have been baptized in the well of 


eternity and are beyond good and evil; and good and 
evil themselves are but intervening shadows and damp 
depressions and drifting clouds. 

Verily, it is a blessing and not a blasphemy when I 
teach: "Over all things stand the heaven Accident, the 
heaven Innocence, the heaven Chance, the heaven 

"By Chance" — that is the most ancient nobility of 
the world, and this I restored to all things: I delivered 
them from their bondage under Purpose. This freedom 
and heavenly cheer I have placed over all things like 
an azure bell when I taught that over them and through 
them no "eternal will" wills. This prankish folly I have 
put in the place of that will when I taught: "In every- 
thing one thing is impossible: rationality." 

A little reason, to be sure, a seed of wisdom scattered 
from star to star — this leaven is mixed in with all 
things: for folly's sake, wisdom is mixed in with all 
things. A little wisdom is possible indeed; but this 
blessed certainty I found in all things: that they would 
rather dance on the feet of Chance. 

O heaven over me, pure and high! That is what your 
purity is to me now, that there is no eternal spider or 
spider web of reason; that you are to me a dance floor 
for divine accidents, that you are to me a divine tablp 
for divine dice and dice players. But you blush? Did I 
speak the unspeakable? Did I blaspheme,- wishing to 
bless you? Or is it the shame of twosomeness that makes 
you blush? Do you bid me go and be silent because 
the day is coming now? 

The world is deep — and deeper than day had ever 
been aware. Not everything may be put into words in 
the presence of the day. But the day is coming, so let 
us part. 


0 heaven over me, bashful and glowingl O you, my 
happiness before sunrise! The day is coming, so let us 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


When Zarathustra was on land again he did not pro- 
ceed straight to his mountain and his cave, but he un- 
dertook many ways and questions and found out this 
and that; so that he said of himself, joking: "Behold 
a river that flows, winding and twisting, back to its 
source!" For he wanted to determine what had hap- 
pened to man meanwhile: whether he had become 
greater or smaller. And once he saw a row of new 
houses; then he was amazed and said: 

"What do these houses mean? Verily, no great soul 
put them up as its likeness. Might an idiotic child have 
taken them out of his toy box? Would that another 
child might put them back into his boxl And these 
rooms and chambers — can men go in and out of them? 
They look to me as if made for silken dolls, or for 
stealthy nibblers who probably also let themselves be 
nibbled stealthily." 

And Zarathustra stood still and reflected. At last he 
said sadly: "Everything has become smaller! Every- 
where I see lower gates: those who are of my kind 
probably still go through, but they must stoop. Oh, 
when shall I get back to my homeland, where I need 
no longer stoop— no longer stoop before those who are 
small?" And Zarathustra sighed and looked into the 
distance. On that same day, however, he made his 
speech on virtue that makes small. 



I walk among this people and I keep my eyes open: 
they do not forgive me that I do not envy their virtues. 
They bite at me because I say to them: small people 
need small virtues — and because I find it hard to ac- 
cept that small people are needed. 

I am still like the rooster in a strange yard, where 
the hens also bite at him; but I am not angry with the 
hens on that account. I am polite to them as to all 
small annoyances; to be prickly to what is small strikes 
me as wisdom for hedgehogs. 

They all speak of me when they sit around the fire 
in the evening; they speak of me, but no one thinks 
of me. This is the new stillness I have learned: their 
noise concerning me spreads a cloak over my thoughts. 

They noise among themselves: "What would this 
gloomy cloud bring us? Let us see to it that it does not 
bring us a plague." And recently a woman tore back 
her child when it wanted to come to me. "Take the 
children awayl" she cried; "such eyes scorch children's 
souls." They cough when I speak: they think that a 
cough is an argument against strong winds; they guess 
nothing of the roaring of my happiness. "We have no 
time yet for Zarathustra," they argue; but what matters 
a time that "has no time" for Zarathustra? 

And when they praise me, how could I go to sleep 
on their praise? Their praise is a belt of thoms to me: 
it scratches me even as I shake it off. And this too I 
have learned among them: he who gives praise poses 
as if he were giving back; in truth, however, he wants 
more gifts. 

Ask my foot whether it likes their way of lauding 
and luring! Verily, after such a beat and ticktock it has 
no wish either to dance or to stand still. They would 

laud and lure me into a small virtue; they would per- 
suade my foot to the ticktock of a small happiness. 

I walk among this people and I keep my eyes open: 
they have become smaller, and they are becoming 
smaller and smaller; but this is due to their doctrine of 
happiness and virtue. For they are modest in virtue, 
too — because they want contentment. But only a modest 
virtue gets along with contentment. 

To be sure, even they learn in their way to stride 
and to stride forward: I call it their hobbling. Thus they 
become a stumbling block for everyone who is in a 
hurry. And many among them walk forward while 
looking backward with their necks stiff: I like running 
into them. Foot and eye should not lie nor give the lie 
to each other. But there is much lying among the small 
people. Some of them will, but most of them are only 
willed. Some of them are genuine, but most of them are 
bad actors. There are unconscious actors among them 
and involuntary actors; the genuine are always rare, 
especially genuine actors. 

There is little of man here; therefore their women 
strive to be mannish. For only he who is man enough 
will release the woman in woman. 

And this hypocrisy I found to be the worst among 
them, that even those who command, hypocritically 
feign the virtues of those who serve. "I serve, you 
serve, we serve" — thus prays even the hypocrisy of the 
rulers; and woe, if the first lord is merely the first 

Alas, into their hypocrisies too the curiosity of my 
eyes flew astray; and well I guessed their fly-happiness 
and their humming around sunny windowpanes. So 
much kindness, so much weakness do I see; so much 
justice and pity, so much weakness. 

Round, righteous, and kind they are to each other, 


round like grains of sand, righteous and kind with grains 
of sand. Modestly to embrace a small happiness — that 
they call "resignation" — and modestly they squint the 
while for another small happiness. At bottom, these 
simpletons want a single thing most of all: that nobody 
should hurt them. Thus they try to please and gratify 
everybody. This, however, is cowardice, even if it be 
called virtue. 

And if they once speak roughly, these small people, I 
hear only their hoarseness, for every draft makes them 
hoarse. They are clever, their virtues have clever fingers. 
But they lack fists, their fingers do not know how to 
hide behind fists. Virtue to them is that which makes 
modest and tame: with that they have turned the wolf 
into a dog and man himself into man's best domestic 

"We have placed our chair in the middle," your 
smirking says to me; "and exactly as far from dying 
fighters as from amused sows." That, however, is medi- 
ocrity, though it be called moderation. 


I walk among this people and I let many a word 
drop; but they know neither how to accept nor how to 

They are amazed that I did not come to revile venery 
and vice; and verily, I did not come to warn against 
pickpockets either. 

They are amazed that I am not prepared to teach wit 
to their cleverness and to whet it — as if they did not 
have enough clever boys, whose voices screech like 
slate pencils! 

And when I shout, "Curse all cowardly devils in you 
who like to whine and fold their hands and pray," they 
shout, "Zarathustra is godless." And their teachers of 

resignation shout it especially; but it is precisely into 
their ears that I like to shout, "Yes, I am Zarathustra 
the godless!" These teachers of resignation! Whatever 
is small and sick and scabby, they crawl to like lice; 
and only my nausea prevents me from squashing them. 

Well then, this is my preaching for their ears: I am 
Zarathustra the godless, who speaks: "Who is more god- 
less than I, that I may delight in his instruction?" 

I am Zarathustra the godless: where shall I find my 
equal? And all those are my equals who give themselves 
their own will and reject all resignation. 

I am Zarathustra the godless: I still cook every 
chance in my pot. And only when it has been cooked 
through there do I welcome it as my food. And verily, 
many a chance came to me domineeringly; but my will 
spoke to it still more domineeringly — and immediately 
it lay imploringly on its knees, imploring that it might 
find a hearth and heart in me, and urging with flattery, 
"Look, Zarathustra, how only a friend comes to his 

But why do I speak where nobody has my ears? And 
so let me shout it into all the winds: You are becoming 
smaller and smaller, you small people! You are crum- 
bling, you comfortable ones. You will yet perish of 
your many small virtues, of your many small abstentions, 
of your many small resignations. Too considerate, too 
yielding is your soil. But that i tree may become greaf, 
it must strike hard roots around hard rocks. 

What you abstain from too weaves at the web of all 
human future; your nothing too is .a spider web and a 
spider, which lives on the blood of the future. And 
when you receive it is like stealing, you small men of 
virtue; but even among rogues, honor says, "One should 
steal only where one cannot rob." 

"It will give eventually" — that is another teaching of 


resignation. But I tell you who are comfortable: it will 
take and will take more and more from youl Oh, that 
you would reject all halfhearted willing and would be- 
come resolute in sloth and deedl 

Alas, that you would understand my word: "Do what- 
ever you will, but first be such as are able to will. 

"Do love your neighbor as yourself, but first be such 
as love themselves — loving with a great love, loving 
with a great contempt." Thus speaks Zarathustra the 

But why do I speak where nobody has my ears? It is 
still an hour too early for me here. I am my own. 
precursor among this people, my own cock's crow 
through dark lanes. But their hour will cornel And mine 
will come tool Hourly, they are becoming smaller, 
poorer, more sterile — poor herbsl poor soil! and soon 
they shall stand there like dry grass and prairie — 
and verily, weary of themselves and languishing even 
more than for water — for fire. 

O blessed hour of lightning! O secret before noon! I 
yet hope to turn them into galloping fires and heralds 
with fiery tongues — they shall yet proclaim with fiery 
tongues: It is coming, it is near — the great noon! 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Winter, a wicked guest, is sitting at home with me; 
my hands are blue from the handshake of his friend- 
ship. I honor this wicked guest, but I like to let him sit 
alone. I like to run away from him; and if one runs 
well, one escapes him. With warm feet and warm 
thoughts I run where the wind stands still, to the 
sunny nook of my mount of olives. There I laugh at my 
severe guest and am still well disposed toward him for 

catching the flies at home and for silencing much small 
noise. For he does not suffer it when a mosquito would 
sing, or even two; he even makes the lane lonely till the 
moonlight in it is afraid at night. 

He is a hard guest, but I honor him, and I do not 
pray, like the pampered, to the potbellied fire idol. Even 
a little chattering of the teeth rather than adoring idols 
— thus my nature dictates. And I have a special grudge 
against all fire idols that are in heat, steaming and 

Whomever I love, I love better in winter than in 
summer; I mock my enemies better and more heartily 
since winter dwells in my home. Heartily, in truth, even 
when I crawl into bed; even then my hidden happiness 
still laughs and is full of pranks; even the dream that 
lies to me still laughs. I — a crawler? Never in my life 
have I crawled before the mighty; and if ever I lied, I 
lied out of love. Therefore I am glad in the wintry bed 
too. A simple bed warms me more than a rich one, for 
I am jealous of my poverty, and in winter it is most 
faithful to me. 

I begin every day with a bit of malice: I mock the 
winter with a cold bath; that makes my severe house 
guest grumble. Besides, I like to tickle him with a little 
wax candle to make him let the sky come out of the 
ashen gray twilight at last. For I am especially malicious 
in the morning, in that early hour when the pail rattles 
at the well and the horses whinny warmly through gray 
lanes. Then I wait impatiently for the bright sky to rise 
before me at last, the snow-bearded winter sky, the old 
man with his white hair — the winter sky, so taciturn 
that it often tacitly hides even its sun. 

Was it from him that I learned the long bright 
silence? Or did he leam it from me? Or did each of us 
invent it independently? The origin of all good things 


is thousandfold; all good prankish things leap into 
existence from sheer joy: how could one expect them to 
do that only once? Long silence too is a good prankish 
thing — and to look out of a bright round-eyed face, 
like the winter sky, and tacitly to hide one's sun and 
one's indomitable solar will: verily, this art and this 
winter prank I have learned well. 

It is my favorite malice and art that my silence has 
learned not to betray itself through silence. Rattling 
with discourse and dice, I outwit those who wait 
solemnly: my will and purpose shall elude all these 
severe inspectors. That no one may discern my ground 
and ultimate will, for that I have invented my long 
bright silence. Many I found who were clever: they 
veiled their faces and muddied their waters that nobody 
might see through them, deep down. But precisely to 
them came the cleverer mistrusters and nutcrackers: 
precisely their most hidden fish were fished out. It is the 
bright, the bold, the transparent who are cleverest 
among those who are silent: their ground is down so 
deep that even the brightest water does not betray it. 

You snow-bearded silent winter sky, you round-eyed 
white-head above mel O you heavenly parable of my 
soul and its pranksl 

And must I not conceal myself like one who has 
swallowed gold, lest they slit open my soul? Must I not 
walk on stilts that they overlook my long legs — all these 
grudge-joys and drudge-boys who surround me? These 
smoky, room-temperature, used-up, wilted, fretful souls 
—how could their grudge endure my happiness? Hence 
I show them only the ice and the winter of my peaks — 
and not that my mountain still winds all the belts of 
the sun round itself. They hear only my winter winds 
whistling — and not that I also cross warm seas, like 
longing, heavy, hot south winds. They still have pity on 


my accidents; but my word says, "Let accidents come 
to me, they are innocent as little children." 

How could they endure my happiness if I did not 
wrap my happiness in accidents and winter distress and 
polar-bear caps and covers of snowy heavens — if I my- 
self did not have mercy on their pity, which is the pity 
of grudge-joys and drudge-boys, if I myself did not 
sigh before them and chatter with cold and patiently 
suffer them to wrap me in their pity. This is the wise 
frolicsomeness and friendliness of my soul, that it does 
not conceal its winter and its icy winds; nor does it 
conceal its chilblains. 

Loneliness can be the escape of the sick; loneliness 
can also be escape from the sick. 

Let them hear me chatter and sigh with the winter 
cold, all these poor jealous jokers around me! With such 
sighing and chattering I still escape their heated rooms. 

Let them suffer and sigh over my chilblains. "The ice 
of knowledge will yet freeze him to death!" they moan. 

Meanwhile I run crisscross on my mount of olives 
with warm feet; in the sunny nook of my mount of 
olives I sing and I mock all pity. 

Thus sang Zarathustra. 


Thus, walking slowly among many peoples and 
through numerous towns, Zarathustra returned on 
roundabout paths to his mountains and his cave. And 
on the way he also came unexpectedly to the gate of the 
great city; but here a foaming fool jumped toward him 
with outspread hands and barred his way. This, how- 
ever, was the same fool whom the people called "Zara- 
thustra's ape": for he had gathered something of his 
phrasing and cadences and also liked to borrow from 


the treasures of his wisdom. But the fool spoke thus to 


"O Zarathustra, here is the great city; here you could 
find nothing and lose everything. Why do you want to 
wade through this mire? Have pity on your foot! Rather 
spit on the city gate and turn back. Here is hell for a 
hermit's thoughts: here great thoughts are boiled alive 
and cooked till they are small. Here all great feelings 
decay: only the smallest rattleboned feelings may rattle 
here. Don't you smell the slaughterhouses and ovens of 
the spirit even now? Does not this town steam with the 
fumes of slaughtered spirit? 

"Don't you see the soul hanging like a limp, dirty rag? 
And they still make newspapers of these ragsl 

"Don't you hear how the spirit has here been reduced 
to plays on words? It vomits revolting verbal swill. And 
they still make newspapers of this swill! 

"They hound each other and know not where. They 
overheat each other and know not why. They tinkle 
with their tin, they jingle with their gold. They are cold 
and seek warmth from brandy; they are heated and seek 
coolness from frozen spirits; they are all diseased and 
sick with public opinions. 

"All lusts and vices are at home here; but there are 
also some here who are virtuous: there is much service- 
able, serving virtue — much serviceable virtue with pen 
fingers and hard sitting- and waiting-flesh, blessed with 
little stars on the chest and with padded, rumpless 
daughters. There is also much piety, and there are many 
devout lickspittles, batteries of fakers and flattery-bakers 
before the God of Hosts. For it is 'from above' that the 
stars and the gracious spittle trickle; every starless chest 
longs above. 

"The moon has her courtyard, and the courtyard has 
its mooncalves; to everything, however, that comes from 


the court, the beggarly mob and all serviceable beggar- 
virtue pray. 'I serve, you serve, we serve' — thus all 
serviceable virtue prays to the prince, that the deserved 
star may finally be pinned on the narrow chest. 

"The moon, however, still revolves around all that is 
earthly: So too the prince still revolves around that 
which is earthliest — but that is the gold of the shop- 
keeper. The God of Hosts is no god of gold bars; the 
prince proposes, but the shopkeeper disposes. 

"By everything in you that is bright and strong and 
good, O Zarathustra, spit on this city of shopkeepers 
and turn backl Here all blood flows putrid and luke- 
warm and spumy through all the veins; spit on the great 
city which is the great swill room where all the swill 
spumes together. Spit on the city of compressed souls 
and narrow chests, of popeyes and sticky fingers — on 
the city of the obtrusive, the impudent, the scribble- 
and scream-throats, the overheated ambitious-conceited 
—where everything infirm, infamous, lustful, dusky, 
overmusty, pussy, and plotting putrefies together: spit 
on the great city and turn back!" 

Here, however, Zarathustra interrupted the foaming 
fool and put his hand over the fool's mouth. "Stop at 
lastl" cried Zarathustra; "your speech and your manner 
have long nauseated me. Why did you live near the 
swamps so long, until you yourself have become a frog 
and a toad? Does not putrid, spumy swamp-blood flow 
through your own veins now that you have learned to 
croak and revile thus? Why have you not gone into the 
woods? Or to plow the soil? Does not the sea abound in 
green islands? I despise your despising; and if you 
warned me, why did you not wam yourself? 

"Out of love alone shall my despising and my warn- 
ing bird fly up, not out of the swamp. 


"They call you my ape, you foaming fool; but I call 
you my grunting swine: with your grunting you spoil 
for me my praise of folly. What was it that first made 
you grunt? That nobody flattered you sufficiently; you 
sat down to this filth so as to have reason to grunt much 
— to have reason for much revenge. For all your foam- 
ing is revenge, you vain fool; I guessed it well. 

"But your fool's words injure me, even where you are 
right. And even if Zarathustra's words were a thousand 
times right, still you would always do wrong with my 

Thus spoke Zarathustra; and he looked at the great 
city, sighed, and long remained silent. At last he spoke 
thus: "I am nauseated by this great city too, and not only 
by this fool. Here as there, there is nothing to better, 
nothing to worsen. Woe unto this great city! And I wish 
I already saw the pillar of fire in which it will be 
bumed. For such pillars of fire must precede the great 
noon. But this has its own time and its own destiny. 

"This doctrine, however, I give you, fool, as a parting 
present: where one can no longer love, there one should 
pass by." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and he passed by the fool 
and the great city. 



Alas, all lies withered and gray that but recently 
stood green and colorful on this meadow. And how 
much honey of hope I carried from here to my beehivesl 
These young hearts have all become old already — and 
not even old; only weary, ordinary, and comfortable. 
They put it, "We have become pious again." 


Only recently I saw them run out in the morning on 
bold feet: but the feet of their thirst for knowledge have 
grown weary, and now they even slander the courage 
they had in the morning. Verily, many among them 
once lifted their legs like dancers, cheered by the 
laughter in my wisdom; then they thought better of it. 
Just now I saw one groveling — crawling back to the 
cross. Around light and freedom they once fluttered like 
mosquitoes and young poets. A little older, a little 
colder — and already they are musty mystifiers and 

Did their hearts perhaps grow faint because solitude 
swallowed me like a whale? Did their ears perhaps 
listen longingly long, in vain, for me and my trumpet 
and herald's calls? Alas, there are always only a few 
whose hearts long retain their courageous bearing and 
overbearing prankishness, and whose spirits also remain 
patient. The rest, however, are cowards. The rest — 
those are always by far the most, the commonplace, the 
superfluous, the all-too-many: all these are cowards. 

Whoever is of my kind will also encounter the ex- 
periences of my kind: so his first companions will have 
to be corpses and jesters. His second companions, how- 
ever, will call themselves his believers: a living swarm, 
much love, much folly, much beardless veneration. To 
these believers, whoever is of my kind among men 
should not tie his heart; those who know the changeful, 
cowardly nature of mankind should not believe in these 
springtimes and colorful meadows. 

Were their ability different, their will would be dif- 
ferent too. Those who are half-and-half spoil all that is 
whole. That leaves wilt — what is there to wail about? 
Let them fly and fall, O Zarathustra, and do not waill 
It is better to blow among them with rustling winds — 


blow among these leaves, O Zarathustra, that everything 
wilted may run away from you even fasterl 


"We have become pious again" — so these apostates 
confess; and some among them are even too cowardly to 
confess it. 

Those I look in the eye, and then I say it to their 
faces and to their blushing cheeks: you are such as pray 

But it is a disgrace to pray! Not for everybody, but 
for you and me and whoever else has a conscience in 
his head too. For you it is a disgrace to prayl 

You know it well: your cowardly devil within you, 
who would like to fold his hands and rest his hands in 
his lap and be more comfortable — this cowardly devil 
urges you, "There is a God." With this, however, you 
belong to the light-shunning kind who cannot rest where 
there is light; now you must daily bury your head 
deeper in night and haze. 

And verily, you chose the hour well, for just now the 
nocturnal birds are flying again. The hour has come for 
all light-shunning folk, the hour of evening and rest, 
when they do not rest. I hear and smell it: their hour 
for chase and procession has come — not indeed for a 
wild chase, but for a tame, lame, snooping, pussyfoot- 
ing, prayer-muttering chase — for a chase after soulful 
sneaks: all the heart's mousetraps have now been set 
again. And wherever I lift a curtain a little night moth 
rushes out. Did it perhaps squat there together with 
another little night moth? For everywhere I smell little 
hidden communities; and wherever there are closets, 
there are new canters praying inside and the fog of 

They sit together long evenings and say, "Let us be- 

come as little children again and say 'dear God!' " — their 
mouths and stomachs upset by pious confectioners. 

Or they spend long evenings watching a cunning, 
ambushing, cross-marked spider, which preaches clever- 
ness to the other spiders and teaches thus: "Under 
crosses one can spin well." 

Or they spend the day sitting at swamps with fishing 
rods, thinking themselves profound; but whoever fishes 
where there are no fish, I would not even call super- 

Or they leam to play the harp with pious pleasure — 
from a composer of songs who would like to harp him- 
self right into the hearts of young females; for he has 
grown weary of old females and their praise. 

Or they leam to shudder from a scholarly half -mad- 
man who waits in dark rooms for the spirits to come to 
him — so his spirit will flee completely. 

Or they listen to an old traveling, caviling zany who 
has learned the sadness of tones from sad winds; now he 
whistles after the wind and preaches sadness in sad 

And some of them have even become night watch- 
men: now they know how to blow horns and to walk 
about at night and to awaken old things that had long 
gone to sleep. I heard five sayings about old things last 
night at the garden wall: they came from such old, 
saddened, dried-up night watchmen. 

"For a father, he does not care enough about his 
children: human fathers do this better." 

"He is too old. He does not care about his children 
at all any more" — thus the other night watchman re- 

"But does he have any children? Nobody can prove 
it, if he does not prove it himself. I have long wished 
he would for once prove it thoroughly." 


"Prove? As if he had ever proved anything! Proof is 
difficult for him; he considers it terribly important that 
one should have faith in him." 

"Sure! Sure! Faith makes him blessed, faith in him. 
That is the way of old people. We are no different our- 

Thus the two old night watchmen and scarelights 
spoke to each other and then tooted sadly on their 
homs: so it happened last night at the garden wall. In 
me, however, my heart twisted with laughter and 
wanted to break and did not know whither, and sank 
into my diaphragm. Verily, this will yet be my death, 
that I shall suffocate with laughter when I see asses 
drunk and hear night watchmen thus doubting God. Is 
not the time long past for all such doubts too? Who may 
still awaken such old sleeping, light-shunning things? 

For the old gods, after all, things came to an end long 
ago; and verily, they had a good gay godlike end. They 
did not end in a "twilight," though this lie is told. In- 
stead: one day they laughed themselves to death. That 
happened when the most godless word issued from one 
of the gods themselves — the word: "There is one god. 
Thou shalt have no other god before mel" An old grim- 
beard of a god, a jealous one, thus forgot himself. And 
then all the gods laughed and rocked on their chairs and 
cried, "Is not just this godlike that there are gods but 
no God?" 

He that has ears to hear, let him hearl 

Thus Zarathustra discoursed in the town which he 
loved and which is also called The Motley Cow. For 
from here he had only two more days to go to reach 
his cave and his animals again; but his soul jubilated 
continually because of the nearness of his return home. 



O solitude! O my home, solitude! Too long have I 
lived wildly in wild strange places not to return home 
to you in tears. Now you may threaten me with your 
finger, as mothers threaten; now you may smile at me, 
as mothers smile; now you may say to me: 

"And who was it that, like a storm, once stormed 
away from me? Who shouted in parting, 'Too long I 
have sat with solitude; I have forgotten how to be 
silent!' That, I suppose, you have learned again now? O 
Zarathustra, I know everything. Also that you were 
more forsaken among the many, being one, than ever 
with me. To be forsaken is one thing, to be lonely, an- 
other: that you have learned now. And that among men 
you will always seem wild and strange — wild and 
strange even when they love you; for above all things 
they want consideration. 

"Here, however, you are in your own home and 
house; here you can talk freely about everything and 
pour out all the reasons; nothing here is ashamed of 
obscure, obdurate feelings. Here all things come caress- 
ingly to your discourse and flatter you, for they want to 
ride on your back. On every parable you ride to every 
truth. Here you may talk fairly and frankly to all things: 
and verily, it rings in their ears like praise when some- 
body talks straight to all things. 

"To be forsaken, however, is another matter. For — 
do you still remember, Zarathustra? When your bird 
cried high above you, when you stood in the forest, un- 
decided where to tum, ignorant, near a corpse — when 
you said, 'May my animals lead me! I found it more 
dangerous to be among men than among animals' — 


then you were forsaken! And do you still remember, 
Zarathustra? When you sat on your island, a well of 
wine among empty pails, spending and expending, be- 
stowing and flowing among the thirsty, until finally you 
sat thirsty among drunks and complained by night, 'Is 
it not more blessed to receive than to give, and to steal 
still more blessed than to receive?' — then you were for- 
saken! And do you still remember, Zarathustra? When 
your stillest hour came and drove you away from your- 
self, speaking in an evil whisper, 'Speak and break!' — 
when it made you repent all your waiting and silence 
and discouraged your humble courage — then you were 

O solitude! O my home, solitude! How happily and 
tenderly your voice speaks to me! We do not question 
each other, we do not complain to each other, we often 
walk together through open doors. For where you are, 
things are open and bright; and the hours too walk on 
lighter feet here. For in darkness, time weighs more 
heavily on us than in the light. Here the words and 
word-shrines of all being open up before me: here all 
being wishes to become word, all becoming wishes to 
leam from me how to speak. 

Down there, however, all speech is in vain. There, 
forgetting and passing by are the best wisdom: that I 
have learned now. He who would grasp everything 
human would have to grapple with everything. But for 
that my hands are too clean. I do not even want to in- 
hale their breath; alas, that I lived so long among their 
noises and vile breath! 

O happy silence around me! O clean smells around 
me! Oh, how this silence draws deep breaths of clean 
air! Oh,, how it listens, this happy silence! 

But down there everyone talks and no one listens. 

You could ring in your wisdom with bells: the shop- 
keepers in the market place would outjingle it with 

Everyone among them talks; no one knows how to 
understand any more. Everything falls into the water, 
nothing falls into deep wells any longer. 

Everyone among them talks; nothing turns out well 
any more and is finished. Everyone cackles; but who 
still wants to sit quietly in the nest and hatch eggs? 

Everyone among them talks; everything is talked to 
pieces. And what even yesterday was still too hard for 
time itself and its tooth, today hangs, spoiled by scrap- 
ing and gnawing, out of the mouths of the men of 

Everyone among them talks; everything is betrayed. 
And what was once called the secret and the secrecy of 
deep souls today belongs to the street trumpeters and 
other butterflies. 

Oh, everything human is strange, a noise on dark 
streets! But now it lies behind me again: my greatest 
danger lies behind mel 

Consideration and pity have ever been my greatest 
dangers, and everything human wants consideration and 
pity. With concealed truths, with a fool's hands and a 
fond, foolish heart and a wealth of the little lies of pity: 
thus I always lived among men. Disguised I sat among 
them, ready to mistake myself that I might endure 
them, and willingly urging myself, "You fool, you do 
not know men." 

One forgets about men when one lives among men; 
there is too much foreground in all men: what good are 
far-sighted, far-seeking eyes there? And whenever they 
mistook me, I, fool that I am, showed them more con- 
sideration than myself, being used to hardness against 


myself, and often I even took revenge on myself for 
being too considerate. Covered with the bites of poison- 
ous flies and hollowed out like a stone by many drops 
of malice, thus I sat among them, and I still reminded 
myself, "Everything small is innocent of its smallness." 

Especially those who call themselves "the good" I 
found to be the most poisonous flies: they bite in all 
innocence, they lie in all innocence; how could they 
possibly be just to me? Pity teaches all who live among 
the good to lie. Pity surrounds all free souls with musty 
air. For the stupidity of the good is unfathomable. 

To conceal myself and my wealth, that I learned 
down there; for I have found everyone poor in spirit. 
The lie of my pity was this, that I knew I could see and 
smell in everyone what was spirit enough for him and 
what was too much spirit for him. Their stiff sages — I 
called them sagacious, not stiff; thus I learned to swal- 
low words. Their gravediggers — I called them research- 
ers and testers; thus I learned to change words. The 
gravediggers dig themselves sick; under old rubbish lie 
noxious odors. One should not stir up the morass. One 
should live on mountains. 

With happy nostrils I again breathe mountain free- 
dom. At last my nose is delivered from the smell of 
everything human. Tickled by the sharp air as by 
sparkling wines, my soul sneezes — sneezes and jubilates 
to itself: Gesundheit! 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


In a dream, in the last dream of the morning, I stood 
in the foothills today — beyond the world, held scales, 

and weighed the world. Alas, the jealous dawn came 
too early and glowed me awakel She is always jealous 
of my glowing moming dreams. 

Measurable by him who has time, weighable by a 
good weigher, reachable by strong wings, guessable by 
divine nutcrackers: thus my dream found the world — 
my dream, a bold sailor, half ship, half hurricane, 
taciturn as butterflies, impatient as falcons: how did it 
have the patience or the time to weigh the world? Did 
my wisdom secretly urge it, my laughing, wide-awake 
day-wisdom which mocks all "infinite worlds'? For it 
speaks: "Wherever there is force, number will become 
mistress: she has more force." 

How surely my dream looked upon this finite world, 
not inquisitively, not acquisitively, not afraid, not beg- 
ging, as if a full apple offered itself to my hand, a ripe 
golden apple with cool, soft, velvet skin, thus the world 
offered itself to me; as if a tree waved to me, broad- 
branched, strong-willed, bent as a support, even as a 
footstool for one weary of his way, thus the world stood 
on my foothills; as if delicate hands carried a shrine to- 
ward me, a shrine open for the delight of bashful, 
adoring eyes, thus the world offered itself to me today; 
not riddle enough to frighten away human love, not 
solution enough to put to sleep human wisdom: a 
humanly good thing the world was to me today, though 
one speaks so much evil of it. 

How shall I thank my moming dream that I thus 
weighed the world this moming? As a humanly good 
thing it came to me, this dream and heart-comforter. 
And to imitate it by day and to leam from it what was 
best in it, I shall now place the three most evil things 
on the scales and weigh them humanly well. He that 
taught to bless also taught to curse; what are the three 


best cursed things in the world? I shall put them on the 


Sex, the lust to rule, selfishness: these three have so 
far been best cursed and worst reputed and lied about; 
these three I will weigh humanly well. 

Well then, here are my foothills and there the sea: 
that rolls toward me, shaggy, flattering, the faithful old 
hundred-headed canine monster that I love. Well then, 
here I will hold the scales over the rolling sea; and a 
witness I choose too, to look on — you, solitary tree, 
fragrant and broad-vaulted, that I love. 

On what bridge does the present pass to the future? 
By what compulsion does the higher compel itself to the 
lower? And what bids even the highest grow still 

Now the scales are balanced and still: three weighty 
questions I threw on it; three weighty answers balance 
the other scale. 


Sex: to all hair-shirted despisers of the body, their 
thorn and stake, and cursed as "world" among all the 
afterworldly because it mocks and fools all teachers of 
error and confusion. 

Sex: for the rabble, the slow fire on which they are 
bumed; for all worm-eaten wood and all stinking rags, 
the ever-ready rut and oven. 

Sex: for free hearts, innocent and free, the garden 
happiness of the earth, the future's exuberant gratitude 
to the present. 

Sex: only for the wilted, a sweet poison; for the lion- 
willed, however, the great invigoration of the heart and 
the reverently reserved wine of wines. 

Sex: the happiness that is the great parable of a 
higher happiness and the highest hope. For to many is 

marriage promised, and more than marriage — to many 
who are stranger to each other than man and woman. 
And who can wholly comprehend how strange man and 
woman are to each other? 

Sex — but I want to have fences around my thoughts 
and even around my words, lest swine and swooners 
break into my garden! 

The lust to rule: the scalding scourge of the hardest 
among the hardhearted; the hideous torture that is 
saved up for the cruelest; the dark flame of living pyres. 

The lust to rule: the malicious gadfly imposed on the 
vainest peoples; the mocker of all uncertain virtues; the 
rider on every horse and every pride. 

The lust to rule: the earthquake that breaks and 
breaks open everything worm-eaten and hollow; the 
rumbling, grumbling punisher that breaks open whited 
sepulchers; the lightning-like question mark beside pre- 
mature answers. 

The lust to rule: before whose glances man crawls 
and ducks and slaves and becomes lower than snake 
and swine, until finally the great contempt cries out of 

The lust to rule: the terrible teacher of the great con- 
tempt, who preaches "away with you" to the very faces 
of cities and empires, until it finally cries out of them 
themselves, "Away with me!" 

The lust to rule: which, however, also ascends lur- 
ingly to -the pure and lonely and up to self-sufficient 
heights, glowing like a love that luringly paints crimson 
fulfillments on earthly skies. 

The lust to rule— but who would call it lust when 
what is high longs downward for power? Verily, there 
is nothing diseased or lustful in such longing and con- 
descending. That the lonely heights should not remain 


lonely and self-sufficient eternally; that the mountain 
should descend to the valley and the winds of the 
height to the low plains— oh, who were to find the right 
name for such longing? "Gift-giving virtue" — thus Zara- 
thustra once named the unnamable. 

And at that time it also happened — and verily, it 
happened for the first time — that his word pronounced 
selfishness blessed, the wholesome, healthy selfishness 
that wells from a powerful soul — from a powerful soul 
to which belongs the high body, beautiful, triumphant, 
refreshing, around which everything becomes a mirror 
— the supple, persuasive body, the dancer whose para- 
ble and epitome is the self-enjoying soul. The self- 
enjoyment of such bodies and souls calls itself "virtue." 

With its words about good and bad, such self -enjoy- 
ment screens itself as with sacred groves; with the 
names of its happiness it banishes from its presence 
whatever is contemptible. From its presence it banishes 
whatever is cowardly; it says: bad — that is cowardly I 
Contemptible to its mind is anyone who always worries, 
sighs, is miserable, and also anyone who picks up even 
the smallest advantages. It also despises all wisdom 
that wallows in grief; for verily, there is also wisdom 
that blooms in the dark, a nightshade wisdom, which 
always sighs: all is vain. 

Shy mistrust it holds in low esteem, also anyone who 
wants oaths instead of eyes and hands; also all wisdom 
that is all-too-mistrustful, for that is the manner of 
cowardly souls. In still lower esteem it holds the sub- 
servient, the doglike, who immediately lie on their 
backs, the humble; and there is wisdom too that is 
humble and doglike and pious and subservient. Alto- 
gether hateful and nauseating it finds those who never 
offer resistance, who swallow poisonous spittle and evil 


glances, the all-too-patient, all-suffering, always satis- 
fied; for that is servile. 

Whether one be servile before gods and gods' kicks 
or before men and stupid men's opinions — whatever is 
servile it spits on, this blessed selfishness. Bad: that is 
what it calls everything that is sorely stooped and 
sordidly servile, unfree blink-eyes, oppressed hearts, and 
that false yielding manner that kisses with wide cow- 
ardly lips. 

And sham wisdom: that is what it calls the would-be 
wit of the servile and old and weary, and especially the 
whole wicked, nitwitted, witless foolishness of priests. 
The sham-wise, however — all the priests, the world- 
weary, and all those whose souls are womanish and 
servile — oh, what wicked tricks has their trickery always 
played on selfishnessl And what was considered virtue 
and called virtue was playing wicked tricks on selfish- 
ness! And "selfless" — that is how all these world-weary 
cowards and cross-marked spiders wanted themselves, 
for good reasons. 

But for all these the day is now at hand, the change, 
the sword of judgment, the great noon: much shall be 
revealed there. 

And whoever proclaims the ego wholesome and holy, 
and selfishness blessed, verily, he will also tell what he 
knows, foretelling: "Verily, it is at hand, it is near, the 
great noonl" 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


My tongue is of the people: I speak too crudely and 
heartily for Angora rabbits. And my speech sounds even 
stranger to all ink-fish and pen-hacks. 


My hand is a fool's hand: beware, all tables and walls 
and whatever else still offer room for foolish frill or 
scribbling skill. 

My foot is a cloven foot; with it I trample and trot 
over sticks and stones, crisscross, and I am happy as the 
devil while running so fast. 

My stomach — is it an eagle's stomach? For it likes 
lamb best of all. Certainly it is the stomach of some 
bird. Nourished on innocent things and on little, ready 
and impatient to fly, to fly off — that happens to be my 
way: how could there not be something of the bird's 
way in that? And above all, I am an enemy of the spirit 
of gravity, that is the bird's way — and verily, a sworn 
enemy, archenemy, primordial enemy. Oh, where has 
not my enmity flown and misflown in the past? 

Of that I could well sing a song — and will sing it, 
although I am alone in an empty house and must sing 
it to my own ears. There are other singers, of course, 
whose throats are made mellow, whose hands are made 
talkative, whose eyes are made expressive, whose hearts 
are awakened, only by a packed house. But I am not 
like those. 


He who wiD one day teach men to fly will have 
moved all boundary stones; the boundary stones them- 
selves will fly up into the air before him, and he will 
rebaptize the earth — "the light one." 

The ostrich runs faster than the fastest horse, but 
even he buries bis head gravely in the grave earth; even 
so, the man who has not yet learned to fly. Earth and 
life seem grave to him; and thus the spirit of gravity 
wants it. But whoever would become light and a bird 
must love himself: thus I teach. 

Not, to be sure, with the love of the wilting arid 

Wasting: for among those even self-love stinks. One 
must leam to love oneself — thus I teach — with a whole- 
some and healthy love, so that one can bear to be with 
oneself and need not roam. Such roaming baptizes it- 
self "love of the neighbor": with this phrase the best lies 
and hypocrisies have been perpetrated so far, and espe- 
cially by such as were a grave burden for all the world. 

And verily, this is no command for today and to- 
morrow, to learn to love oneself. Rather, it is of all 
arts the subtlest, the most cunning, the ultimate, and 
the most patient. For whatever is his own is well con- 
cealed from the owner; and of all treasures, it is our 
own that we dig up last: thus the spirit of gravity 
orders it. 

We are presented with grave words and values al- 
most from the cradle: "good" and "evil" this gift is 
called. For its sake we are forgiven for living. 

And therefore one suffers little children to come unto 
one — in order to forbid them betimes to love them- 
selves: thus the spirit of gravity orders it. 

And we — we carry faithfully what one gives us to 
bear, on hard shoulders and over rough mountains. And 
should we sweat, we are told: "Yes, life is a grave 
burden." But only man is a grave burden for himselfl 
That is because he carries on his shoulders too much 
that is alien to him. Like a camel, he kneels down and 
lets himself be well loaded. Especially the strong, 
reverent spirit that would bear much: he loads too 
many alien grave words and values on himself, and 
then life seems a desert to him. 

And verily, much that is our own is also a grave 
burdenl And much that is inside man is like an oyster: 
nauseating and slippery and hard to grasp, so that a 
noble shell with a noble embellishment must plead for 
it. But this art too one must leam: to have a shell and 


shiny sheen and shrewd blindness. Moreover, one is 
deceived about many things in man because many a 
shell is shabby and sad and altogether too much shell. 
Much hidden graciousness and strength is never 
guessed; the most exquisite delicacies find no tasters. 
Women know this — the most exquisite do: a little fat- 
ter, a little slimmer — oh, how much destiny lies in so 

Man is hard to discover — hardest of all for himself: 
often the spirit lies about the soul. Thus the spirit of 
gravity orders it. He, however, has discovered himself 
who says, "This is my good and evil"; with that he has 
reduced to silence the mole and dwarf who say, "Good 
for all, evil for all." 

Verily, I also do not like thbse who consider every- 
thing good and this world the best. Such men I call 
the omni-satisfied. Omni-satisfaction, which knows how 
to taste everything, that is not the best taste. I honor 
the recalcitrant choosy tongues and stomachs, which 
have learned to say "I" and "yes" and "no." But to 
chew and digest everything — that is truly the swine's 
manner. Always to bray Yea-Yuh — that only the ass has 
learned, and whoever is of his spirit. 

Deep yellow and hot red: thus my taste wants it; it 
mixes blood into all colors. But whoever whitewashes 
his house betrays a whitewashed soul to me. Some in 
love with mummies, the others with ghosts, and both 
alike enemies of all flesh and blood — oh, how both 
offend my taste. For I love blood. 

And I do not want to reside and abide where every- 
body spits and spews: that happens to be my taste; 
rather I would live even among thieves and perjurers. 
Nobody has gold in his mouth. Still more revolting, 
however, I find all lickspittles; and the most revolting 
human animal that I found I baptized "parasite": it 

did not want to love and yet it wanted to live on love. 

Cursed I call all who have only one choice: to be- 
come evil beasts or evil tamers of beasts; among such 
men I would not build my home. 

Cursed I call those too who must always wait; they 
offend my taste: all the publicans and shopkeepers and 
kings and other land- and storekeepers. Verily, I too 
have learned to wait — thoroughly — but only to wait for 
myself. And above all I learned to stand and walk and 
run and jump and climb and dance. This, however, is 
my doctrine: he who would learn to fly one day must 
first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and 
dance: one cannot fly into flying. With rope ladders I 
have learned to climb to many a window; with swift 
legs I climbed high masts; and to sit on high masts of 
knowledge seemed to me no small happiness: to flicker 
like small flames on high masts — a small light only and 
yet a great comfort for shipwrecked sailors and cast- 

By many ways, in many ways, I reached my truth: 
it was not on one ladder that I climbed to the height 
where my eye roams over my distance. And it was only 
reluctantly that I ever inquired about the way: that 
always offended my taste. I preferred to question and 
try out the ways themselves. 

A trying and questioning was my every move; and 
verily, one must also leam to answer such questioning. 
That, however, is my taste — not good, not bad, but my 
taste of which I am no longer ashamed and which I 
have no wish to hide. 

"This is my way; where is yours?" — thus I answered 
those who asked me "the way." For the way — that does 
not exist. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 




Here I sit and wait, surrounded by broken old 
tablets and new tablets half covered with writing. When 
will my hour come? The hour of my going down and 
going under; for I want to go among men once more. 
For that I am waiting now, for first the signs must 
come to me that my hour has come: the laughing lion 
with the flock of doves. Meanwhile I talk to myself as 
one who has time. Nobody tells me anything new: so 
I tell myself — myself. 


When I came to men I found them sitting on an old 
conceit: the conceit that they have long known what 
is good and evil for man. All talk of virtue seemed an 
old and weary matter to man; and whoever wanted to 
sleep well still talked of good and evil before going to 

I disturbed this sleepiness when I taught: what is 
good and evil no one knows yet, unless it be he who 
creates. He, however, creates man's goal and gives the 
earth its meaning and its future. That anything at all 
is good and evil — that is his creation. 

And I bade them overthrow their old academic 
chairs and wherever that old conceit had sat; I bade 
them laugh at their great masters of virtue and saints 
and poets and world-redeemers. I bade them laugh at 
their gloomy sages and at whoever had at any time sat 
on the tree of life like a black scarecrow. I sat down by 
their great tomb road among cadavers and vultures, 
and I laughed at all their past and its rotting, decaying 

Verily, like preachers of repentance and fools, I 
raised a hue and cry of wrath over what among them 
is great and small, and that their best is still so small. 
And that their greatest evil too is still so small — at 
that I laughed. 

My wise longing cried and laughed thus out of me 
— bom in the mountains, verily, a wild wisdom — my 
great broad-winged longingl And often it swept me 
away and up and far, in the middle of my laughter; and 
I flew, quivering, an arrow, through sun-drunken de- 
light, away into distant futures which no dream had yet 
seen, into hotter souths than artists ever dreamed of, 
where gods in their dances are ashamed of all clothes — 
to speak in parables and to limp and stammer like 
poets; and verily, I am ashamed that I must still be a 

Where all becoming seemed to me the dance of gods 
and the prankishness of gods, and the world seemed 
free and frolicsome and as if fleeing back to itself — as 
an eternal fleeing and seeking each other again of many 
gods, as the happy controverting of each other, con- 
versing again with each other, and converging again 
of many gods. 

Where all time seemed to me a happy mockery of 
moments, where necessity was freedom itself playing 
happily with the sting of freedom. 

Where I also found again my old devil and arch- 
enemy, the spirit of gravity, and all that he created: 
constraint, statute, necessity and consequence and pur- 
pose and will and good and evil. 

For must there not be that over which one dances 
and dances away? For the sake of the light and the 
lightest, must there not be moles and grave dwarfs? 



There it was too that I picked up the word "over- 
man" by the way, and that man is something that must 
be overcome — that man is a bridge and no end: pro- 
claiming himself blessed in view of his noon and 
evening, as the way to new dawns — Zarathustra's word 
of the great noon, and whatever else I hung up over 
man like the last crimson light of evening. 

Verily, I also let them see new stars along with new 
nights; and over clouds and day and night I still spread 
out laughter as a colorful tent. 

I taught them all my creating and striving, to create 
and carry together into One what in man is fragment 
and riddle and dreadful accident; as creator, guesser of 
riddles, and redeemer of accidents, I taught them to 
work on the future and to redeem with their creation 
all that has been. To redeem what is past in man and 
to re-create all "it was" until the will says, "Thus I 
willed it I Thus I shall will it" — this I called redemption 
and this alone I taught them to call redemption. 

Now I wait for my own redemption — that I may go 
to them for the last time. For I want to go to men 
once more; under their eyes I want to go under; dying, 
I want to give them my richest gift. From the sun I 
learned this: when he goes down, overrich; he pours 
gold into the sea out of inexhaustible riches, so that 
even the poorest fisherman still rows with golden oars. 
For this I once saw and I did not tire of my tears as I 
watched it. 

Like the sun, Zarathustra too wants to go under; now 
he sits here and waits, surrounded by broken old tablets 
and new tablets half covered with writing. 



Behold, here is a new tablet; but where are my 
brothers to carry it down with me to the valley and 
into hearts of flesh? 

Thus my great love of the farthest demands it: do 
not spare your neighbor! Man is something that must 
be overcome. 

There are many ways of overcoming: see to that 
yourself! But only a jester thinks: "Man can also be 
skipped over." 

Overcome yourself even in your neighbor: and a 
right that you can rob you should not accept as a gift. 

What you do, nobody can do to you in turn. Behold, 
there is no retribution. 

He who cannot command himself should obey. And 
many can command themselves, but much is still lack- 
ing before they also obey themselves. 


This is the manner of noble souls: they do not want 
to have anything for nothing; least of all, life. Whoever 
is of the mob wants to live for nothing; we others, 
however, to whom life gave itself, we always think 
about what we might best give in return. And verily, 
that is a noble speech which says, "What life promises 
us, we ourselves want to keep to life." 

One shall not wish to enjoy where one does not give 
joy. And one shall not wish to enjoy! For enjoyment and 
innocence are the most bashful things: both do not want 
to be sought. One shall possess them — but rather seek 
even guilt and suffering. 



My brothers, the firstling is always sacrificed. We, 
however, are firstlings. All of us bleed at secret sacri- 
ficial altars; all of us bum and roast in honor of old 
idols. What is best in us is still young: that attracts old 
palates. Our flesh is tender, our hide is a mere lamb- 
skin: how could we fail to attract old idol-priests? Even 
in ourselves the old idol-priest still lives who roasts 
what is best in us for his feast. Alas, my brothers, how 
could firstlings fail to be sacrifices? 

But thus our kind wants it; and I love those who do 
not want to preserve themselves. Those who are going 
under I love with my whole love: for they cross over. 


To be true — only a few are able! And those who are 
still lack the will. But the good have this ability least 
of all. Oh, these good men! Good men never speak the 
truth; for the spirit, to be good in this way is a disease. 
They give in, these good men; they give themselves up; 
their heart repeats and their ground obeys: but whoever 
heeds commands does not heed himself. 

Everything that the good call evil must come together 
so that one truth may be born. O my brothers, are you 
evil enough for this truth? The audacious daring, the 
long mistrust, the cruel No, the disgust, the cutting into 
the living — how rarely does all this come together. But 
from such seed is truth begotten. 

Alongside the bad conscience, all science has grown 
so far. Break, break, you lovers of knowledge, the old 



When the water is spanned by planks, when bridges 
and railings leap over the river, verily, those are not 
believed who say, "Everything is in flux." Even the 
blockheads contradict them. "How now?" say the block- 
heads. "Everything should be in flux? After all, planks 
and railings are over the river. Whatever is over the 
river is firm; all the values of things, the bridges, the 
concepts, all 'good' and 'evil' — all that is firm." 

But when the hard winter comes, the river-animal 
tamer, then even the most quick-witted learn mistrust; 
and verily, not only the blockheads then say, "Does not 
everything stand still?" 

"At bottom everything stands still" — that is truly a 
winter doctrine, a good thing for sterile times, a fine 
comfort for hibemators and hearth-squatters. 

"At bottom everything stands still" — against this the 
thawing wind preaches. The thawing wind, a bull 
that is no plowing bull, a raging bull, a destroyer who 
breaks the ice with wrathful horns. Ice, however, breaks 

O my brothers, is not everything in flux new? Have 
not all railings and bridges fallen into the water? Who 
could still cling to "good" and "evil"? 

"Woe to us! Hail to us! The thawing wind blows!" — 
thus preach in every street, my brothers. 


There is an old illusion, which is called good and evil. 
So far the wheel of this illusion has revolved around 
soothsayers and stargazers. Once man believed in sooth- 
sayers and stargazers, and therefore believed: "All is 
destiny: you ought to, for you must." 

Then man again mistrusted all soothsayers and star- 


gazers, and therefore believed: "All is freedom: you 

can, for you will." 

O my brothers, so far there have been only illusions 
about stars and the future, not knowledge; and there- 
fore there have been only illusions so far, not knowl- 
edge, about good and evil. 


"Thou shalt not robl Thou shalt not kill!" Such words 
were once called holy; one bent the knee and head and 
took off one's shoes before them. But I ask you: where 
have there ever been better robbers and killers in this 
world than such holy words? 

Is there not in all life itself robbing and killing? And 
that such words were called holy — was not truth itself 
killed thereby? Or was it the preaching of death that 
was called holy, which contradicted and contravened all 
life? O my brothers, break, break the old tabletsl 


This is my pity for all that is past: I see how all of 
it is abandoned — abandoned to the pleasure, the spirit, 
the madness of every generation, which comes along 
and reinterprets all that has been as a bridge to itself. 

A great despot might come along, a shrewd monster 
who, according to his pleasure and displeasure, might 
constrain and strain all that is past till it becomes a 
bridge to him, a harbinger and herald and cockcrow. 

This, however, is the other danger and what prompts 
my further pity: whoever is of the rabble, thinks back 
as far as the grandfather; with the grandfather, how- 
ever, time ends. 

Thus all that is past is abandoned: for one day the 
rabble might become master and drown all time in 
shallow waters. 

Therefore, my brothers, a new nobility is needed to 
be the adversary of all rabble and of all that is despotic 
and to write anew upon new tablets the word "noble." 

For many who are noble are needed, and noble men 
of many kinds, that there may be a nobility. Or as I 
once said in a parable: "Precisely this is godlike that 
there are gods, but no God." 


O my brothers, I dedicate and direct you to a new 
nobility: you shall become procreators and cultivators 
and sowers of the future — verily, not to a nobility that 
you might buy like shopkeepers and with shopkeepers' 
gold: for whatever has its price has little value. 

Not whence you come shall henceforth constitute 
your honor, but whither you are going! Your will and 
your foot which has a will to go over and beyond your- 
selves — that shall constitute your new honor. 

Verily, not that you have served a prince — what do 
princes matter now? — or that you became a bulwark 
for what stands that it might stand more firmly. 

Not that your tribe has become courtly at court and 
that you have learned, like a flamingo, to stand for long 
hours in a colorful costume in shallow ponds — for the 
ability to stand is meritorious among courtiers; and all 
courtiers believe that blessedness after death must com- 
prise permission to sit. 

Nor that a spirit which they call holy led your an- 
cestors into promised lands, which I do not praise — for 
where the worst of all trees grew, the cross, that land 
deserves no praise. And verily, wherever this "Holy 
Spirit" led his knights, on all such crusades goose aids 
goat in leading the way, and the contrary and crude 
sailed foremost. 

O my brothers, your nobility should not look back- 


ward but ahead! Exiles shall you be from all father- and 
forefather-landsl Your children's land shall you love: 
this love shall be your new nobility — the undiscovered 
land in the most distant sea. For that I bid your sails 
search and search. 

In your children you shall make up for being the 
children of your fathers: thus shall you redeem all that 
is past. This new tablet I place over you. 


"Why live? All is vanity! Living — that is threshing 
straw; living — that is consuming oneself in flames with- 
out becoming warm." Such antiquarian babbling is still 
considered "wisdom"; it is honored all the more for 
being old and musty. Mustiness too ennobles. 

Children might speak thus: they fear the fire be- 
cause it burned them. There is much childishness in 
the old books of wisdom. And why should those who 
always "thresh straw" be allowed to blaspheme thresh- 
ing? Such oxen should be muzzled after all. 

Such men sit down to the table and bring nothing 
along, not even a good appetite; and then they blas- 
pheme: "All is vanity." But eating and drinking well, O 
my brothers, is verily no vain art. Break, break the old 
tablets of the never gay! 


"To the clean all is clean," the people say. But I say 
unto you, "To the mean all becomes mean." 

Therefore the swooners and head-hangers, whose 
hearts also hang limply, preach, "The world itself is a 
filthy monster." For all these have an unclean spirit — 
but especially those who have neither rest nor repose 
except when they see the world from abaft, the after- 
worldly. To these I say to their faces, even though it 

may not sound nice: the world is like man in having 
a backside abaft; that much is true. There is much 
filth in the world; that much is true. But that does not 
make the world itself a filthy monster. 

There is wisdom in this, that there is much in the 
world that smells foul: nausea itself creates wings and 
water-divining powers. Even in the best there is still 
something that nauseates; and even the best is some- 
thing that must be overcome. O my brothers, there is 
much wisdom in this, that there is much filth in the 


Such maxims I heard pious afterworldly people 
speak to their conscience — verily, without treachery or 
falseness, although there is nothing falser in the whole 
world, nothing more treacherous: 

"Let the world go its way! Do not raise one finger 
against it!" 

"Let him who wants to, strangle and stab and fleece 
and flay the people. Do not raise one finger against itl 
Thus will they leam to renounce the world." 

"And your own reason — you yourself should stifle 
and strangle it; for it is a reason of this world; thus 
will you yourself leam to renounce the world." 

Break, break, O my brothers, these old tablets of the 
pious. Break the maxims of those who slander the 


"Whoever leams much will unlearn all violent desire" 
— that is whispered today in all the dark lanes. 

"Wisdom makes weary; worth while is — nothing; 
thou shalt not desire!" — this new tablet I found hang- 
ing even in the open market places. 


Break, O my brothers, break this new tablet too. 
The world-weary hung it up, and the preachers of 
death, and also the jailers; for behold, it is also an 
exhortation to bondage. Because they learned badly, 
and the best things not at all, and everything too early 
and everything too hastily; because they ate badly, 
therefore they got upset stomachs; for their spirit is an 
upset stomach which counsels death. For verily, my 
brothers, the spirit is a stomach. Life is a well of joy; 
but for those out of whom an upset stomach speaks, 
which is the father of melancholy, all wells are poisoned. 

To gain knowledge is a joy for the lion-willed! But 
those who have become weary are themselves merely 
being "willed," and all the billows play with them. And 
this is always the manner of the weak: they get lost on 
the way. And in the end their weariness still asks, "Why 
did we ever pursue any way at all? It is all the same." 
Their ears appreciate the preaching, "Nothing is worth 
while! You shall not will!" Yet this is an exhortation to 

O my brothers, like a fresh roaring wind Zarathustra 
comes to all who are weary of the way; many noses he 
will yet make sneeze. Through walls too, my free breath 
blows, and into prisons and imprisoned spirits. To will 
liberates, for to will is to create: thus I teach. And you 
shall learn solely in order to create. 

And you shall first learn from me how to leam — how 
to leam well. He that has ears to hear, let him hearl 


There stands the bark; over there perhaps the great 
nothing lies. But who would embark on this "perhaps"? 
No one of you wants to embark on the bark of death. 
Why then do you want to be world-weary? World- 
weary! And you are not even removed from the earth. 

Lusting after the earth I have always found you, in 
love even with your own earth- weariness. Not for 
nothing is your lip hanging; a little earthly wish still 
sits on it. And in your eyes — does not a little cloud of 
unforgotten earthly joy float there? 

There are many good inventions on earth, some use- 
ful, some pleasing: for their sake, the earth is to be 
loved. And there is such a variety of well-invented 
things that the earth is like the breasts of a woman: 
useful as well as pleasing. 

But you who are world-weary, you who are earth- 
lazy, you should be lashed with switches: with lashes 
one should make your legs sprightly again. For when 
you are not invalids and decrepit wretches of whom the 
earth is weary, you are shrewd sloths or sweet-toothed, 
sneaky pleasure-cats. And if you do not want to run 
again with pleasure, then you should pass away. To 
the incurable, one should not try to be a physician — 
thus Zarathustra teaches — so you shall pass awayl 

But it takes more courage to make an end than to 
make a new verse: all physicians and poets know that. 


O my brothers, there are tablets created by weariness 
and tablets created by rotten, rotting sloth; but though 
they speak alike, they must be understood differently. 

Behold this man languishing here! He is but one span 
from his goal, but out of weariness he has defiantly 
lain down in the dust — this courageous manl Out of 
weariness he yawns at the way and the earth and the 
goal and himself: not one step farther will he go — this 
courageous man! Now the sun glows on him and the 
dogs lick his sweat; but he lies there in his defiance 
and would sooner die of thirst — die of thirst one span 
away from his goal! Verily, you will yet have to drag 


him by the hair into his heaven — this herol Better yet, 
let him lie where he lay down, and let sleep, the com- 
forter, come to him with cooling, rushing rain. Let him 
lie till he awakes by himself, till he renounces by him- 
self all weariness and whatever weariness taught through 
him. Only, my brothers, drive the dogs away from him, 
the lazy creepers, and all the ravenous vermin — all the 
raving vermin of the "educated," who feast on every 
hero's sweat. 


I draw circles around me and sacred boundaries; 
fewer and fewer men climb with me on ever higher 
mountains: I am building a mountain range out of ever 
more sacred mountains. But wherever you may climb 
with me, O my brothers, see to it that no parasite 
climbs with you. Parasites: creeping, cringing worms 
which would batten on your secret sores. And this is 
their art, that they find where climbing souls are weary; 
in your grief and discouragement, in your tender parts, 
they build their nauseating nests. Where the strong are 
weak and the noble all-too-soft — there they build their 
nauseating nests: the parasites live where the great have 
little secret sores. 

What is the highest species of all being and what is 
the lowest? The parasite is the lowest species; but who- 
ever is of the highest species will nourish the most 
parasites. For the soul that has the longest ladder and 
reaches down deepest — how should the most parasites 
not sit on that? The most comprehensive soul, which 
can run and stray and roam farthest within itself; the 
most necessary soul, which out of sheer joy plunges it- 
self into chance; the soul which, having being, dives 
into becoming; the soul which has, but wants to want 
and will; the soul which flees itself and catches up with 

itself in the widest circle; the wisest soul, which folly 
exhorts most sweetly; the soul which loves itself most, 
in which all things have their sweep and countersweep 
and ebb and flood — oh, how should the highest soul 
not have the worst parasites? 


0 my brothers, am I cruel? But I say: what is falling, 
we should still push. Everything today falls and decays: 
who would check it? But 1 — I even want to push it. 

Do you know the voluptuous delight which rolls 
stones into steep depths? These human beings of to- 
day — look at them, how they roll into my depth! 

1 am a prelude of better players, O my brothers! A 
precedentl Follow my precedent! 

And he whom you cannot teach to fly, teach to fall 


I love the valiant; but it is not enough to wield a 
broadsword, one must also know against whom. And 
often there is more valor when one refrains and passes 
by, in order to save oneself for the worthier enemy. 

You shall have only enemies who are to be hated, 
but not enemies to be despised: you must be proud of 
your enemy; thus I taught once before. For the worthier 
enemy, O my friends, you shall save yourselves; there- 
fore you must pass by much — especially much rabble 
who raise a din in your ears about the people and about 
peoples. Keep your eyes undefiled by their pro and 
conl There is much justice, much injustice; and whoever 
looks on becomes angry. Sighting and smiting here 
become one; therefore go away into the woods and lay 
your sword to sleep. 

Go your own ways! And let the people and peoples 


go theirs — dark ways, verily, on which not a single hope 
flashes any more. Let the shopkeeper rule where all that 
still glitters is — shopkeepers' gold. The time of kings is 
past: what calls itself a people today deserves no kings. 
Look how these peoples are now like shopkeepers: they 
pick up the smallest advantages from any rubbish. They 
lie around lurking and spy around smirking — and call 
that "being good neighbors." O blessed remote time 
when a people would say to itself, "I want to be master 
— over peoples." For, my brothers, the best should rule, 
the best also want to rule. And where the doctrine is 
different, there the best is lacking. 


If those got free bread, alas! For what would they 
clamor? Their sustenance — that is what sustains their 
attention; and it should be hard for them. They are 
beasts of prey: in their "work" there is still an element 
of preying, in their "earning" still an element of over- 
reaching. Therefore it should be hard for them. Thus 
they should become better beasts of prey, subtler, more 
prudent, more human; for man is the best beast of prey. 
Man has already robbed all the beasts of their virtues, 
for of all beasts man has had the hardest time. Only the 
birds are still over and above him. And if man were to 
learn to fly — woe, to what heights would his rapacious- 
ness fly? 


Thus I want man and woman: the one fit for war, the 
other fit to give birth, but both fit to dance with head 
and limbs. And we should consider every day lost on 
which we have not danced at least once. And we should 
call every truth false which was not accompanied by at 
least one laugh. 



Your wedlock: see to it that it not be a bad lock. If 
you lock it too quickly, there follows wedlock-breaking: 
adultery. And better even such wedlock-breaking than 
wedlock-picking, wedlock-tricking. Thus said a woman 
to me: "Indeed I committed adultery and broke my 
wedlock, but first my wedlock broke me!" 

The worst among the vengeful I always found to be 
the ill-matched: they would make all the world pay for 
it that they no longer live singly. 

Therefore I would have those who are honest say to 
each other, "We love each other; let us see to it that we 
remain in love. Or shall our promise be a mistake?" 

"Give us a probation and a little marriage, so that we 
may see whether we are fit for a big marriage. It is a 
big thing always to be two." 

Thus I counsel all who are honest; and what would 
my love for the overman and for all who shall yet come 
amount to if I counseled and spoke differently? Not 
merely to reproduce, but to produce something higher 
— toward that, my brothers, the garden of marriage 
should help you. 


Whoever has gained wisdom concerning ancient 
origins will eventually look for wells of the future and 
for new origins. O my brothers, it will not be overlong 
before new peoples originate and new wells roar down 
into new depths. For earthquakes bury many wells and 
leave many languishing, but they also bring to light 
inner powers and secrets. Earthquakes reveal new 
wells. In earthquakes that strike ancient peoples, new 
wells break open. 

And whoever shouts, "Behold, a well for many who 


are thirsty, a heart for many who are longing, a will for 
many instruments" — around that man there will gather 
a people; that is: many triers. 

Who can command, who must obey — that is tried out 
there. Alas, with what long trials and surmises and un- 
pleasant surprises and learning and retrials! 

Human society is a trial: thus I teach it — a long trial; 
and what it tries to find is the commander. A trial, O my 
brothers, and not a "contract." Break, break this word 
of the softhearted and half-and-halfl 


O my brothers, who represents the greatest danger 
for all of man's future? Is it not the good and the just? 
Inasmuch as they say and feel in their hearts, "We al- 
ready know what is good and just, and we have it too; 
woe unto those who still seek here!" And whatever harm 
the evil may do, the harm done by the good is the most 
harmful harm. And whatever harm those do who slan- 
der the world, the harm done by the good is the most 
harmful harm. 

O my brothers, one man once saw into the hearts of 
the good and the just and said, "They are the phari- 
sees." But he was not understood. The good and the 
just themselves were not permitted to understand him: 
their spirit is imprisoned in their good conscience. The 
stupidity of the good is unfathomably shrewd. This, 
however, is the truth: the good must be pharisees — 
they have no choice. The good must crucify him who 
invents his own virtue. That is the truthl 

The second one, however, who discovered their land 
—the land, heart, and soil of the good and the just — 
was he who asked, "Whom do they hate most?" The 
creator they hate most: he breaks tablets and old values. 
He is a breaker, they call him lawbreaker. For the good 

are unable to create; they are always the beginning of 
the end: they crucify him who writes new values on 
new tablets; they sacrifice the future to themselves — 
they crucify all man's future. 

The good have always been the beginning of the end. 


O my brothers, have you really understood this word? 
And what I once said concerning the 'last man"? Who 
represents the greatest danger for all of man's future? 
Is it not the good and the just? Break, break the good 
and the fust! O my brothers, have you really understood 
this word? 


You flee from me? You are frightened? You tremble 
at this word? 

O my brothers, when I bade you break the good and 
the tablets of the good, only then did I embark man on 
his high sea. And only now does there come to him the 
great fright, the great looking-around, the great sick- 
ness, the great nausea, the great seasickness. 

False coasts and false assurances the good have 
taught you; in the lies of the good you were hatched 
and huddled. Everything has been made fraudulent and 
has been twisted through and through by the good. 

But he who discovered the land "man," also dis- 
covered the land "man's future." Now you shall be sea- 
farers, valiant and patient. Walk upright betimes, O my 
brothers; learn to walk upright. The sea is raging; many 
want to right themselves again with your help. The sea 
is raging; everything is in the sea. Well then, old sea 
dogsl What of fatherland? Our helm steers us toward 
our children's land! Out there, stormier than the sea, 
storms our great longingl 



"Why so hard?" the kitchen coal once said to the 
diamond. "After all, are we not close kin?" 

Why so soft? O my brothers, thus I ask you: are you 
not after all my brothers? 

Why so soft, so pliant and yielding? Why is there so 
much denial, self-denial, in your hearts? So little destiny 
in your eyes? 

And if you do not want to be destinies and inexorable 
ones, how can you triumph with me? 

And if your hardness does not wish to flash and cut 
and cut through, how can you one day create with me? 

For creators are hard. And it must seem blessedness 
to you to impress your hand on millennia as on wax, 

Blessedness to write on the will of millennia as on 
bronze — harder than bronze, nobler than bronze. Only 
the noblest is altogether hard. 

This new tablet, O my brothers, I place over you: 
become hard! 


O thou my will! Thou cessation of all need, my own 
necessity! Keep me from all small victories! Thou des- 
tination of my soul, which I call destiny! Thou in-mel 
Over-me! Keep me and save me for a great destiny! 

And thy last greatness, my will, save up for thy last 
feat that thou mayest be inexorable in thy victory. Alas, 
who was not vanquished in his victory? Alas, whose 
eye would not darken in this drunken twilight? Alas, 
whose foot would not reel in victory and forget how to 

That I may one day be ready and ripe in the great 
noon: as ready and ripe as glowing bronze, clouds 
pregnant with lightning, and swelling milk udders — 


ready for myself and my most hidden will: a bow lust- 
ing for its arrow, an arrow lusting for its star — a star 
ready and ripe in its noon, glowing, pierced, enraptured 
by annihilating sun arrows — a sun itself and an inexora- 
ble solar will, ready to annihilate in victory! 

O will, cessation of all need, my own necessity! Save 
me for a great victoryl 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


One morning, not long after his return to the cave, 
Zarathustra jumped up from his resting place like a 
madman, roared in a terrible voice, and acted as if 
somebody else were still lying on his resting place who 
refused to get up. And Zarathustra's voice resounded so 
that his animals approached in a fright, while out of all 
the caves and nooks that were near Zarathustra's cave 
all animals fled — flying, fluttering, crawling, jumping, 
according to the kind of feet or wings that were given 
to them. Zarathustra, however, spoke these words: 

Up, abysmal thought, out of my depthl I am your 
cock and dawn, sleepy worm. Up! Up! My voice shall 
yet crow you awake! Unfasten the fetters of your ears: 
listen! For I want to hear you. Up! Up! Here is thunder 
enough to make even tombs leam to listen. And wipe 
sleep and all that is purblind and blind out of your eyes! 
Listen to me even with your eyes: my voice cures even 
those born blind. And once you are awake, you shall 
remain awake eternally. It is not my way to awaken 
great-grandmothers from their sleep to bid them sleep 

You are stirring, stretching, wheezing? Up! Up! You 
shall not wheeze but speak to me. Zarathustra, the god- 


less, summons you! I, Zarathustra, the advocate of life, 
the advocate of suffering, the advocate of the circle; I 
summon you, my most abysmal thoughtl 

Hail to mel You are coming, I hear you. My abyss 
speaks, I have turned my ultimate depth inside out into 
the light. Hail to me! Come herel Give me your handl 
Huhl Let gol Huhhuhl Nausea, nausea, nausea — woe 
unto mel 


No sooner had Zarathustra spoken these words than 
he fell down as one dead and long remained as one 
dead. But when he regained his senses he was pale, and 
he trembled and remained lying there, and for a long 
time he wanted neither food nor drink. This behavior 
lasted seven days; but his animals did not leave him by 
day or night, except that the eagle flew off to get food. 
And whatever prey he got together, he laid on Zara- 
thustra's resting place; and eventually Zarathustra lay 
among yellow and red berries, grapes, rose apples, 
fragrant herbs, and pine cones. But at his feet two 
lambs lay spread out, which the eagle had with diffi- 
culty robbed from their shepherds. 

At last, after seven days, Zarathustra raised himself 
on his resting place, took a rose apple into his hand, 
smelled it, and found its fragrance lovely. Then his 
animals thought that the time had come to speak to him. 

"O Zarathustra," they said, "it is now seven days that 
you have been lying like this with heavy eyes; won't 
you at last get up on your feet again? Step out of your 
cave: the world awaits you like a garden. The wind is 
playing with heavy fragrances that want to get to you, 
and all the brooks would run after you. All things have 
been longing for you, while you have remained alone for 

seven days. Step out of your cave! All things would be 
your physicians. Has perhaps some new knowledge 
come to you, bitter and hard? Like leavened dough you 
have been lying; your soul rose and swelled over all its 

"O my animals," replied Zarathustra, "chatter on like 
this and let me listen. It is so refreshing for me to hear 
you chattering: where there is chattering, there the 
world lies before me like a garden. How lovely it is that 
there are words and sounds! Are not words and sounds 
rainbows and illusive bridges between things which are 
eternally apart? 

"To every soul there belongs another world; for every 
soul, every other soul is an afterworld. Precisely be- 
tween what is most similar, illusion lies most beauti- 
fully; for the smallest cleft is the hardest to bridge. 

"For me — how should there be any outside-myself? 
There is no outside. But all sounds make us forget this; 
how lovely it is that we forget. Have not names and 
sounds been given to things that man might find things 
refreshing? Speaking is a beautiful folly: with that man 
dances over all things. How lovely is all talking, and all 
the deception of sounds! With sounds our love dances 
on many-hued rainbows." 

"O Zarathustra," the animals said, "to those who 
think as we do, all things themselves are dancing: they 
come and offer their hands and laugh and flee — and 
come back. Everything goes, everything comes back; 
eternally rolls the wheel of being. Everything dies, 
everything blossoms again; eternally runs the year of 
being. Everything breaks, everything is joined anew; 
eternally the same house of being is built. Everything 
parts, everything greets every other thing again; eter- 
nally the ring of being remains faithful to itself. In 


every Now, being begins; round every Here rolls the 
sphere There. The center is everywhere. Bent is the 
path of eternity." 

"O you buffoons and barrel organs!" Zarathustra re- 
plied and smiled again. "How well you know what had 
to be fulfilled in seven days, and how that monster 
crawled down my throat and suffocated me. But I bit 
off its head and spewed it out. And you, have you al- 
ready made a hurdy-gurdy song of this? But now I lie 
here, still weary of this biting and spewing, still sick 
from my own redemption. And ijou watched all this? O 
my animals, are even you cruel? Did you want to watch 
my great pain as men do? For man is the crudest 

"At tragedies, bullfights, and crucifixions he has so 
far felt best on earth; and when he invented hell for 
himself , behold, that was his heaven on earth. 

"When the great man screams, the small man comes 
running with his tongue hanging from lasciviousness. 
But he calls it his 'pity.' 

"The small man, especially the poet — how eagerly he 
accuses life with words! Hear him, but do not fail to 
hear the delight that is in all accusation. Such accusers 
of life — life overcomes with a wink. 'Do you love me?' 
she says impudently. 'Wait a little while, just yet I 
have no time for you.' 

"Man is the crudest animal against himself; and 
whenever he calls himself 'sinner' and 'cross-bearer' and 
'penitent,' do not fail to hear the voluptuous delight 
that is in all such lamentation and accusation. 

"And I myself — do I thus want to be man's accuser? 
Alas, my animals, only this have I learned so far, that 
man needs what is most evil in him for what is best in 
him — that whatever is most evil is his best power and 

the hardest stone for the highest creator; and that man 
must become better and more evil. 

"My torture was not the knowledge that man is evil 
— but I cried as no one has yet cried: 'Alas, that his 
greatest evil is so very small! Alas, that his best is so 
very small!' 

"The great disgust with man — this choked me and 
had crawled into my throat; and what the soothsayer 
said: 'All is the same, nothing is worth while, knowl- 
edge chokes.' A long twilight limped before me, a sad- 
ness, weary to death, drunken with death, speaking 
with a yawning mouth. 'Eternally recurs the man of 
whom you are weary, the small man' — thus yawned my 
sadness and dragged its feet and could not go to sleep. 
Man's earth turned into a cave for me, its chest sunken; 
all that is living became human mold and bones and 
musty past to me. My sighing sat on all human tombs 
and could no longer get up; my sighing and questioning 
croaked and gagged and gnawed and wailed by day 
and night: 'Alas, man recurs eternally! The small man 
recurs eternally!' 

"Naked I had once seen both, the greatest man and 
the smallest man: all-too-similar to each other, even the 
greatest all-too-human. All-too-small, the greatest! — that 
was my disgust with man. And the eternal recurrence 
even of the smallest — that was my disgust with all 
existence. Alas! Nausea! Nausea! Nausea!" 

Thus spoke Zarathustra and sighed and shuddered, 
for he remembered his sickness. But then his animals 
would not let him go on. 

"Do not speak on, O convalescent!" thus his animals 
answered him; "but go out where the world awaits you 
like a garden. Go out to the roses and bees and dove- 
cots. But especially to the songbirds, that you may learn 


from them how to singl For singing is for the convales- 
cent; the healthy can speak. And when the healthy man 
also wants songs, he wants different songs from the 

"O you buffoons and barrel organs, be silent!" Zara- 
thustra replied and smiled at his animals. "How well 
you know what comfort I invented for myself in seven 
days! That I must sing again, this comfort and convales- 
cence I invented for myself. Must you immediately turn 
this too into a hurdy-gurdy song?" 

"Do not speak on!" his animals answered him again; 
"rather even, O convalescent, fashion yourself a lyre 
first, a new lyre! For behold, Zarathustra, new lyres are 
needed for your new songs. Sing and overflow, O Zara- 
thustra; cure your soul with new songs that you may 
bear your great destiny, which has never yet been any 
man's destiny. For your animals know well, O Zara- 
thustra, who you are and must become: behold, you 
are the teacher of the eternal recurrence — that is your 
destiny! That you as the first must teach this doctrine — 
how could this great destiny not be your greatest danger 
and sickness too? 

"Behold, we know what you teach: that all things 
recur eternally, and we ourselves too; and that we have 
already existed an eternal number of times, and all 
things with us. You teach that there is a great year of 
becoming, a monster of a great year, which must, like 
an hourglass, turn over again and again so that it may 
run down and run out again; and all these years are 
alike in what is greatest as in what is smallest; and we 
ourselves are alike in every great year, in what is great- 
est as in what is smallest. 

"And if you wanted to die now, O Zarathustra, be- 
hold, we also know how you would then speak to your- 
self. But your animals beg you not to die yet. You 

would speak, without trembling but breathing deeply 
with happiness, for a great weight and sultriness would 
be taken from you who are most patient. 

" 'Now I die and vanish,' you would say, 'and all at 
once I am nothing. The soul is as mortal as the body. 
But the knot of causes in which I am entangled recurs 
and will create me again. I myself belong to the causes 
of the eternal recurrence. I come again, with this sun, 
with this earth, with this eagle, with this serpent — not 
to a new life or a better life or a similar life: I come 
back eternally to this same, selfsame life, in what is 
greatest as in what is smallest, to teach again the eternal 
recurrence of all things, to speak again the word of the 
great noon of earth and man, to proclaim the overman 
again to men. I spoke my word, I break of my word: 
thus my eternal lot wants it; as a proclaimer I perish. 
The hour has now come when he who goes under should 
bless himself. Thus ends Zarathustra's going under.' " 

When the animals had spoken these words they were 
silent and waited for Zarathustra to say something to 
them; but Zarathustra did not hear that they were silent. 
Rather he lay still with his eyes closed, like one sleep- 
ing, although he was not asleep; for he was conversing 
with his soul. The serpent, however, and the eagle, 
when they found him thus silent, honored the great 
stillness around him and cautiously stole away. 


O my soul, I taught you to say "today" and "one day" 
and "formerly" and to dance away over all Here and 
There and Yonder. 

O my soul, I delivered you from all nooks; I brushed 
dust, spiders, and twilight off you. 

O my soul, I washed the little bashfulness and the 


nook-virtue off you and persuaded you to stand naked 
before the eyes of the sun. With the storm that is called 
"spirit" I blew over your wavy sea; I blew all clouds 
away; I even strangled the strangler that is called "sin." 

O my soul, I gave you the right to say No like the 
storm, and to say Yes as the clear sky says Yes: now you 
are still as light whether you stand or walk through 
storms of negation. 

O my soul, I gave you back the freedom over the 
created and uncreated; and who knows, as you know, 
the voluptuous delight of what is yet to come? 

O my soul, I taught you the contempt that does not 
come like the worm's gnawing, the great, the loving 
contempt that loves most where it despises most. 

O my soul, I taught you to persuade so well that you 
persuade the very ground — like the sun who persuades 
even the sea to his own height. 

O my soul, I took from you all obeying, knee-bending, 
and "Lord"-saying; I myself gave you the name "cessa- 
tion of need" and "destiny." 

O my soul, I gave you new names and colorful toys; 
I called you "destiny" and "circumference of circum- 
ferences" and "umbilical cord of time" and "azure bell." 

O my soul, I gave your soil all wisdom to drink, all 
the new wines and also all the immemorially old strong 
wines of wisdom. 

O my soul, I poured every sun out on you, and every 
night and every silence and every longing: then you 
grew up like a vine. 

O my soul, overrich and heavy you now stand there, 
like a vine with swelling udders and crowded brown 
gold-grapes — crowded and pressed by your happiness, 
waiting in your superabundance and still bashful about 

O my soul, now there is not a soul anywhere that 

would be more loving and comprehending and compre- 
hensive. Where would future and past dwell closer to- 
gether than in you? 

O my soul, I gave you all, and I have emptied all my 
hands to you; and now — now you say to me, smiling 
and full of melancholy, "Which of us has to be thank- 
ful? Should not the giver be thankful that the receiver 
received? Is not giving a need? Is not receiving mercy?" 

O my soul, I understand the smile of your melan- 
choly: now your own overrichness stretches out longing 
hands. Your fullness gazes over roaring seas and seeks 
and waits; the longing of overfullness gazes out of the 
smiling skies of your eyes. And verily, O my soul, who 
could see your smile and not be melted by tears? The 
angels themselves are melted by tears because of the 
overgraciousness of your smile. Your graciousness and 
overgraciousness do not want to lament and weep; and 
yet, O my soul, your smile longs for tears and your 
trembling mouth for sobs. "Is not all weeping a lamen- 
tation? And all lamentation an accusation?" Thus you 
speak to yourself, and therefore, my soul, you would 
sooner smile than pour out your suffering —pour out 
into plunging tears all your suffering over your fullness 
and over the vine's urge for the vintager and his knife. 

But if you will not weep, not weep out youi crimson 
melancholy, then you will have to sing, O my soul. Be- 
hold, I myself smile as I say this before you: sing with 
a roaring song till all seas are silenced, that they may 
listen to your longing — till over silent, longing seas the 
bark floats, the golden wonder around whose gold all 
good, bad, wondrous things leap — also many great and 
small animals and whatever has light, wondrous feet for 
running on paths blue as violets — toward the golden 
wonder, the voluntary bark and its master; but that is 
the vintager who is waiting with his diamond knife — 


your great deliverer, O my soul, the nameless one for 
whom only future songs will find names. And verily, 
even now your breath is fragrant with future songs; 
even now you are glowing and dreaming and drinking 
thirstily from all deep and resounding wells of comfort; 
even now your melancholy is resting in the happiness of 
future songs. 

0 my soul, now I have given you all, and even the 
last I had, and I have emptied all my hands to you: 
that I bade you sing, behold, that was the last I had. 
That I bade you sing — speak now, speak: which of us 
has to be thankful now? Better yet, however: sing to 
me, sing, O my soul! And let me be thankful. 

Thus spoke Zarathustxa. 


Into your eyes I looked recently, O life: I saw gold 
blinking in your night-eye; my heart stopped in delight: 
a golden boat I saw blinking on nocturnal waters, a 
golden rocking-boat, sinking, drinking, and winking 
again. At my foot, frantic to dance, you cast a glance, a 
laughing, questioning, melting rocking-glance: twice 
only you stirred your rattle with your small hands, and 
my foot was already rocking with dancing frenzy. 

My heels twitched, then my toes hearkened to under- 
stand you, and rose: for the dancer has his ear in his 

1 leaped toward you, but you fled back from my leap, 
and the tongue of your fleeing, flying hair licked me in 
its sweep. 

Away from you I leaped, and from your serpents' ire; 
and already you stood there, half turned, your eyes full 
of desire. 


With crooked glances you teach me — crooked ways; 
on crooked ways my foot leams treachery. 

I fear you near, I love you far; your flight lures me, 
your seeking cures me: I suffer, but what would I not 
gladly suffer for you? 

You, whose coldness fires, whose hatred seduces, 
whose flight binds, whose scorn inspires: 

Who would not hate you, you great binder, entwiner, 
temptress, seeker, and finder? Who would not love you, 
you innocent, impatient, wind-swift, child-eyed sinner? 

Whereto are you luring me now, you never-tame ex- 
treme? And now you are fleeing from me again, you 
sweet wildcat and ingrate! 

I dance after you, I follow wherever your traces 
linger. Where are you? Give me your hand! Or only one 

Here are caves and thickets; we shall get lost. Stop! 
Stand still! Don't you see owls and bats whirring past? 

You owl! You bat! Intent to confound! Where are we? 
Such howling and yelping you have learned from a 

Your lovely little white teeth are gnashing at me; out 
of a curly little mane your evil eyes are flashing at me. 

That is a dance up high and down low: I am the 
hunter; would you be my dog or my doe? 

Alongside me now! And swift, you malicious leaping 
belle! Now up and over there! Alas, as I leaped I fell. 

Oh, see me lying there, you prankster, suing for 
grace. I should like to walk with you in a lovelier place. 

Love's paths through silent bushes, past many-hued 
plants. Or there along that lake: there goldfish swim 
and dance. 

You are weary now? Over there are sunsets and 
sheep: when shepherds play on their flutes — is it not 
lovely to sleep? 


You are so terribly weary? I'll carry you there; just 
let your arms sink. And if you are thirsty — I have got 
something, but your mouth does not want it to drink. 

Oh, this damned nimble, supple snake and slippery 
witch! Where are you? In my face two red blotches 
from your hand itch. 

I am verily weary of always being your sheepish 
shepherd. You witch, if 7 have so far sung to you, now 
you shall cry. 

Keeping time with my whip, you shall dance and cry! 
Or have I forgotten the whip? Not I! 


Then life answered me thus, covering up her delicate 
ears: "O Zarathustra, don't crack your whip so fright- 
fully! After all, you know that noise murders thought — 
and just now such tender thoughts are coming to me. We 
are both two real good-for-nothings and evil-for-noth- 
ings. Beyond good and evil we found our island and 
our green meadow — we two alone. Therefore we had 
better like each other. And even if we do not love each 
other from the heart — need we bear each other a 
grudge if we do not love each other from the heart? 
And that I like you, often too well, that you know; and 
the reason is that I am jealous of your wisdom. Oh, this 
mad old fool of a wisdom! If your wisdom ever ran 
away from you, then my love would quickly run away 
from you too." 

Then life looked back and around thoughtfully and 
said softly: "O Zarathustra, you are not faithful enough 
to me. You do not love me nearly as much as you say; 
I know you are thinking of leaving me soon. There is 
an old heavy, heavy growl-bell that growls at night all 
the way up to your cave; when you hear this bell strike 
the hour at midnight, then you think between one and 

twelve — you think, O Zarathustra, I know it, of how you 
want to leave me soon." 

"Yes," I answered hesitantly, "but you also know — " 
and I whispered something into her ear, right through 
her tangled yellow foolish tresses. 

"You know that, O Zarathustra? Nobody knows that." 

And we looked at each other and gazed on the green 
meadow over which the cool evening was running just 
then, and we wept together. But then life was dearer to 
me than all my wisdom ever was. 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 



O man, take care! 


What does the deep midnight declare? 

"I was asleep- 

"From a deep dream I woke and swear: 

"The world is deep, 


"Deeper than day had been aware. 

"Deep is its woe; 


"Joy — deeper yet than agony: 

"Woe implores: Gol 


"But all joy wants eternity — 



"Wants deep, wants deep eternity." 

the seven seals 
(or: the yes and amen song) 


If I am a soothsayer and full of that soothsaying spirit 
which wanders on a high ridge between two seas, wan- 
dering like a heavy cloud between past and future, an 
enemy of all sultry plains and all that is weary and can 
neither die nor live — in its dark bosom prepared for 
lightning and the redemptive flash, pregnant with light- 
ning bolts that say Yes and laugh Yes, soothsaying 
lightning bolts — blessed is he who is thus pregnantl 
And verily, long must he hang on the mountains like a 
dark cloud who shall one day kindle the light of the 
future: Oh, how should I not lust after eternity and 
after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of recurrence? 

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I 
wanted children, unless it be this woman whom I love: 
for I love you, O eternity. 

For I love you, O eternity! 


If ever my wrath burst tombs, moved boundary 
stones, and rolled old tablets, broken, into steep depths; 
if ever my mockery blew moldy words into the wind, 
and I came as a broom to the cross-marked spiders and 
as a sweeping gust to old musty tomb chambers; if ever 
I sat jubilating where old gods lie buried, world-bless- 
ing, world-loving, beside the monuments of old world- 
slanders — for I love even churches and tombs of gods, 
once the sky gazes through their broken roofs with its 

pure eyes, and like grass and red poppies, I love to sit 
on broken churches: Oh, how should I not lust after 
eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of 

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I 
wanted children, unless it be this woman whom I love: 
for I love you, O eternity. 

For I love you, O eternity! 


If ever one breath came to me of the creative breath 
and of that heavenly need that constrains even accidents 
to dance star-dances; if I ever laughed the laughter of 
creative lightning which is followed obediently but 
grumblingly by the long thunder of the deed; if I ever 
played dice with gods at the gods' table, the earth, till 
the earth quaked and burst and snorted up floods of 
fire — for the earth is a table for gods and trembles with 
creative new words and gods' throws: Oh, how should 
I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of 
rings, the ring of recurrence? 

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I 
wanted children, unless it be this woman whom I love: 
for I love you, O eternity. 

For I love you, O eternity! 


If ever I drank full drafts from that foaming spice- 
and blend-mug in which all things are well blended; if 
my hand ever poured the farthest to the nearest, and 
fire to spirit, and joy to pain, and the most wicked to 
the most gracious; if I myself am a grain of that re- 
deeming salt which makes all things blend well in the 
blend-mug — for there is a salt that unites good with 
evil; and even the greatest evil is worthy of being used 


as spice for the last foaming over: Oh, how should I 
not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, 
the ring or recurrence? 

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I 
wanted children, unless it be this woman whom I love: 
for I love you, O eternity. 

For I love you, 0 eternity! 


If I am fond of the sea and of all that is of the sea's 
kind, and fondest when it angrily contradicts me; if that 
delight in searching which drives the sails toward the 
undiscovered is in me, if a seafarer's delight is in my 
delight; if ever my jubilation cried, "The coast has 
vanished, now the last chain has fallen from me; the 
boundless roars around me, far out glisten space and 
time; be of good cheer, old heart!" Oh, how should I 
not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, 
the ring of recurrence? 

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I 
wanted children, unless it be this woman whom I love: 
for I love you, O eternity. 

For I love you, O eternity! 


If my virtue is a dancer's virtue and I have often 
jumped with both feet into golden-emerald delight; if 
my sarcasm is a laughing sarcasm, at home under rose 
slopes and hedges of lilies — for in laughter all that is 
evil comes together, but is pronounced holy and ab- 
solved by its own bliss; and if this is my alpha and 
omega, that all that is heavy and grave should become 
light; all that is body, dancer; all that is spirit, bird — 
and verily, that is my alpha and omega: Oh, how should 

I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of 
rings, the ring of recurrence? 

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I 
wanted children, unless it be this woman whom I love: 
for I love you, O eternity. 

For I love you, O eternity! 


If ever I spread tranquil skies over myself and soared 
on my own wings into my own skies; if I swam play- 
fully in the deep light-distances, and the bird-wisdom 
of my freedom came — but bird-wisdom speaks thus: 
"Behold, there is no above, no below! Throw yourself 
around, out, back, you who are light! Sing! Speak no 
more! Are not all words made for the grave and heavy? 
Are not all words lies to those who are light? Sing! 
Speak no more!" Oh, how should I not lust after eter- 
nity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of re- 

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I 
wanted children, unless it be this woman whom I love: 
for I love you, O eternity. 

For I love you, O eternity! 

Thus Spoke Zarathustra: 
Fourth and Last Part 

Alas, where in the world has there been more 
■folly than among the pitying? And what in the 
world has caused more suffering than the folly of 
the pitying? Woe to all who love without having 
a height that is above their pity! 


Thus spoke the devil to me once: "God too has 
his hell: that is his love of man." And most re- 
cently 1 heard him say this: "God is dead; God 
died of his pity for man." (Zarathustra, II, p. 202) 

editor's notes 

Part Four was originally intended as an intermezzo, not 
as the end of the book. The very appearance of a collection 
of sayings is abandoned: Part Four forms a whole, and 
as such represents a new stylistic experiment — as well as 
a number of widely different stylistic experiments, held 
together by a unity of plot and a pervasive sense of 

1. The Honey Sacrifice: Prologue. The "queer fish" arc not 
long in coming: the first of them appears in the next chapter. 

2. The Cry of Distress: Beginning of the story that con- 
tinues to the end of the book. The soothsayer of Part Two 
reappears, and Zarathustra leaves in search of the higher 
man. Now that he has overcome his nausea, his final 
trial is: pity. 

3. Conversation with the Kings: The first of seven encoun- 
ters in each of which Zarathustra meets men who have 
accepted some part of his teaching without, however, 
embodying the type he envisages. Their revolting and tire- 
some flatteries might be charged to their general inad- 
equacy. But Zarathustra's own personality, as it emerges 
in chapter after chapter, poses a more serious problem. At 
least in part, this is clearly due to the author's deliberate 
malice: he does not want to be a "new idol": "I do not 
want to be a saint, rather even a buffoon. Perhaps I am a 
buffoon. And nevertheless, or rather not nevertheless — for 
there has never been anybody more mendacious than 
saints — truth speaks out of me" (Ecce Homo). Earlier in 
the same work he says of Shakespeare: "What must a 
man have suffered to have found it that necessary to be 
a buffoon!" In these pages Nietzsche would resemble the 


dramatist rather than the hagiographer, and a Shakespear- 
ean fool rather than the founder of a new cult. 

4. The Leech: Encounter with "the conscientious in spirit. 1 * 

5. The Magician: In the magician some of Nietzsche's 
own features blend with some of Wagner's as conceived 
by Nietzsche. The poem appears again in a manuscript of 
1888, which bears the title "Dionysus Dithyrambs" and 
the motto: "These are the songs of Zarathustra which ho 
sang to himself to endure his ultimate loneliness." In this 
later context, the poem is entitled "Ariadne's Lament," 
and a new conclusion has been added by Nietzsche: 

(Lightning. Dionysus becomes visible in emerald 
beauty. ) 

Dionysus: Be clever, Ariadnel 

You have small ears, you have my ears: 

Put a clever word into theml 

Must one not first hate each other 

if one is to love each other? 
I am your labyrinth. 

The song is not reducible to a single level of meaning. The 
outcry is ( 1 ) Nietzsche's own; and the unnamable, terrible 
thought near the beginning is surely that of the eternal 
recurrence; it is (2) projected onto Wagner, who is hero 
imagined as feeling desperately forsaken after Nietzsche 
left him (note especially the penultimate stanza); it is 
(3) wishfully projected onto Cosima Wagner — Nietzsche's 
Ariadne (see my Nietzsche, 1, II) — who is here im- 
agined as desiring and possessed by Nietzsche-Dionysus. 
Part Four is all but made up of similar projections. All tho 
characters are caricatures of Nietzsche. And like the magi- 
cian, he too would lie if he said: " 1 did all this only as a 
game.' There was seriousness in it too." 

6. Retired: Encounter with the last pope. Reflections ob 
the death and inadequacies of God. 

7. The Ugliest Man: The murderer of God. The sentence 
beginning "Has Dot all success . . ." reads in German; 


War nicht alter Erfolg bisher bet den Gut-Verfolgten? (Jnd 

wer gut verfolgt, lernt leicht folgen: — ist er dock einmal — 


8. The Voluntary Beggar: A sermon on a mount — about 

9. The Shadow: An allusion to Nietzsche's earlier work, 
The Wanderer and His Shadow (1880). 

10. At Noon: A charming intermezzo. 

11. The Welcome: Zarathustra rejects his guests, though 
together they form a kind of higher man compared to their 
contemporaries. He repudiates these men of great longing 
and nausea as well as all those who enjoy his diatribes and 
denunciations and desire recognition and consideration 
for being out of tune with their time. What Nietzsche 
envisages is the creator for whom all negation is merely 
incidental to his great affirmation: joyous spirits, "laughing 

12. The Last Supper: One of the persistent themes of Part 
Four reaches its culmination in this chapter: Nietzsche not 
only satirizes the Gospels, and all hagiography generally, 
but he also makes fun of and laughs at himself. 

13. On the Higher Man: A summary comparable to "On 
Old and New Tablets" in Part Three. Section 5 epitomizes 
Nietzsche's praise of "evil" — too briefly to be clear apart 
from the rest of his work — and the conclusion should be 
noted. The opening paragraph of section 7 takes up the 
same theme: Nietzsche opposes sublimation to both license 
and what he elsewhere calls "castratism." A fine epigram 
is mounted in the center of section g. The mellow moder- 
ation of the last lines of section 15 is not usually associated 
with Nietzsche. And the chapter ends with a praise of 

14. The Song of Melancholy: In the 1888 manuscript of 
the "Dionysus Dithyrambs" this is the first poem and it 
bears the title "Only Fool! Only Poetl" The two intro- 
ductory sections of this chapter help to dissociate Nietzsche 
from the poem, while the subsqucnt references to this song 
show that lie considered it far more depressing than it 


appears in its context. Though his solitude sometimes 
flattered him, "On every parable you ride tt every truth" 
("The Return Home"), he also knew moments when he 
said to himself, "I am ashamed that I must still be a poet" 
("On Old and New Tablets"). Although Zarathustra's 
buffooneries are certainly intended as such by the author, 
the thought that he might be "only" a fool, "only" a poet 
"climbing around on mendacious word bridges," made 
Nietzsche feel more than despondent. Soon it led him to 
abandon further attempts to ride on parables in favor of 
some of the most supple prose in German literature. 

15. On Science: Only the origin of science is considered. 
The attempt to account for it in terms of fear goes back to 
the period of The Dawn (1881), in which Nietzsche tried 
to see how far he could reduce different phenomena to 
fear and power. Zarathustra suggests that courage is crucial 
— that is, the will to power over fear. 

16. Among Daughters of the Wilderness: Zarathustra, about 
to slip out of his cave for the second time because he can- 
not stand the bad smell of the "higher men," is called 
back by his shadow, who has nowhere among men smelled 
better air — except once. In the following song Nietzsche's 
buffoonery reaches its climax. But though it can and should 
be read as thoroughly delightful nonsense, it is not entirely 
void of personal significance. Wiiste means "desert" or 
"wilderness," and wiist can also mean wild and dissolute; 
and the "flimsy little fan-, flutter-, and tinsel-skirts" seed 
to have been suggested by the brothel to which a porter 
in Cologne once took the young Nietzsche, who had asked 
to be shown to a hotel. (He ran away, shocked; cf. my 
Nietzsche, 1, I.) Certainly the poem is full of sexual 
fantasies. But the double meaning of "date" is not present 
in the original. 

17. The Awakening: The titles of this and the following 
chapter might well be reversed; for it is this chapter that 
culminates in the ass festival, Nietzsche's version of tho 
Black Mass. But "the awakening" here does not refer to tho 
moment when an angry Moses holds his people accountable 


for their worship of the golden calf, but to the moment 
when "they have learned to laugh at themselves." In this 
art, incidentally, none of the great philosophers excelled 
Ihe author of Part Four of Zarathustra. 
8. The Ass Festival: Five of the participants try to justify 
themselves. The pope satirizes Catholicism (Luther was 
last made fun of at the end of the song in Chapter 16), 
while the conscientious in spirit develops a new theology 
— and suggests that Zarathustra himself is pretty close to 
being an ass. 

19. The Drunken Song: Nietzsche's great hymn to joy in- 
vites comparison with Schiller's — minus Beethoven's music. 
That they use different German words is the smallest dif- 
ference. Schiller writes: 

Suffer bravely, myriads! 
Suffer for the better worldl 
Up above the firmament 
A great God will give rewards. 

Nietzsche wants the eternity of this life with all its agonies 
— and seeing that it flees, its eternal recurrence. As it is ex- 
pressed in sections 9, 10, and ii, the conception of the 
eternal recurrence is certainly meaningful; but its formula- 
tion as a doctrine depended on Nietzsche's mistaken belief 
that science compels us to accept the hypothesis of the 
eternal recurrence of the same events at gigantic intervals. 
(See "On the Vision and the Riddle" and "The Convales- 
cent," both in Part Three, and, for a detailed discussion, 
my Nietzsche, 11, II.) 

20. The Sign: In "The Welcome," Zarathustra repudiated 
the "higher men" in favor of "laughing lions." Now a lion 
turns up and laughs, literally. And in place of the single 
dove in the New Testament, traditionally understood as a 
symbol of the Holy Ghost, we are presented with a whole 
flock. Both the lion and the doves were mentioned before 
("On Old and New Tablets," section a) as the signs for 
■vhich Zarathustra must wait, and now afford Nietzsche an 


opportunity to preserve his curious blend of myth, irony, 
and hymn to the very end. 


And again months and years passed over Zarathustra's 
soul, and he did not heed them; but his hair turned 
white. One day when he sat on a stone before his cave 
and looked out — and one looks on the sea from there, 
across winding abysses — his animals walked about him 
thoughtfully and at last stood still before him. 

"O Zarathustra," they said, "are you perhaps looking 
out for your happiness?" 

"What matters happiness?" he replied; "I have long 
ceased to be concerned with happiness; I am concerned 
with my work." 

"O Zarathustra," the animals spoke again, "you say 
that as one having overmuch of the good. Do you not 
lie in a sky-blue lake of happiness?" 

"You buffoons," Zarathustra replied and smiled; "how 
well you chose your metaphor. But you also know that 
my happiness is heavy and not like a flowing wave of 
water: it presses me and will not leave me and acts like 
melted tar." 

Again the animals walked about him thoughtfully and 
then stood still before him. "O Zarathustra," they said, 
"is that why you yourself are becoming ever yellower 
and darker, although your hair wants to look white and 
flaxen? You are in a dreadful messl" 

"What are you saying there, my animals?" Zarathustra 
said and laughed; "verily, I was abusive when I spoke 
of tar. What is happening to me, happens to every fruit 
when it grows ripe. It is the honey in my veins that 
makes my blood thicker and my soul calmer." 


"That is what it will be, Zarathustra," the animals 
answered and nestled against him; "but do you not want 
to climb a high mountain today? The air is clear and 
one sees more of the world today than ever before." 

"Yes, my animals," he replied, "your advice is excel- 
lent and quite after my own heart: I want to climb a 
high mountain today. But see to it that honey will be 
at hand there: yellow, white, good, ice-fresh, golden 
comb honey. For you should know that up there I want 
to offer the honey sacrifice." 

But when Zarathustra had reached the height he sent 
back the animals who had accompanied him, and he 
found himself alone. Then he laughed heartily, looked 
around, and spoke thus: 

That I spoke of sacrifices and honey sacrifices was 
mere cunning and, verily, a useful folly. Up here I may 
speak more freely than before hermits' caves and her- 
mits' domestic animals. 

Why sacrifice? I squander what is given to me, I — 
a squanderer with a thousand hands; how could I call 
that sacrificing? And when I desired honey, I merely 
desired bait and sweet mucus and mucilage, which 
make even growling bears and queer, sullen, evil birds 
put out their tongues — the best bait, needed by hunters 
and fishermen. For if the world is like a dark jungle and 
a garden of delight for all wild hunters, it strikes me 
even more, and so I prefer to think of it, as an abysmal, 
rich sea — a sea full of colorful fish and crabs, which 
even gods might covet, that for their sakes they would 
wish to become fishermen and net-throwers: so rich is 
the world in queer things, great and small. Especially 
the human world, the human sea: that is where I now 
cast my golden fishing rod and say: Open up, you 
human abyssl 


Open up and cast up to me your fish and glittering 
crabs! With my best bait I shall today bait the queerest 
human fish. My happiness itself I cast out far and wide, 
between sunrise, noon, and sunset, to see if many 
human fish might not leam to wriggle and wiggle from 
my happiness until, biting at my sharp hidden hooks, 
they must come up to my height — the most colorful 
abysmal groundlings, to the most sarcastic of all who 
fish for men. For that is what I am through and 
through: reeling, reeling in, raising up, raising, a raiser, 
cultivator, and disciplinarian, who once counseled him- 
self, not for nothing: Become who you are! 

Thus men may now come up to me; for I am still 
waiting for the sign that the time has come for my 
descent; I still do not myself go under, as I must do, 
under the eyes of men. That is why I wait here, cunning 
and mocking on high mountains, neither impatient nor 
patient, rather as one who has forgotten patience too, 
because his "passion" is over. For my destiny leaves me 
time; perhaps it has forgotten me. Or does it sit in the 
shade behind a big stone, catching flies? And verily, I 
like it for this, my eternal destiny: it does not hurry 
and press me, and it leaves me time for jests and sar- 
casm, so that I could climb this high mountain today to 
catch fish. 

Has a man ever caught fish on high mountains? And 
even though what I want and do up here be folly, it is 
still better than if I became solemn down there from 
waiting, and green and yellow — a swaggering wrath- 
snorter from waiting, a holy, howling storm out of the 
mountains, an impatient one who shouts down into the 
valleys, "Listen or I shall whip you with the scourge of 

Not that I bear such angry men a grudge! They are 
good enough for my laughter. They must surely be im- 


patient — these big noisy drums, which find their chance 
to speak today or never. I, however, and my destiny — 
we do not speak to the Today, nor do we speak to the 
Never; we have patience and time and overmuch time 
in which to speak. For one day it must yet come and 
may not pass. What must come one day and may not 
pass? Our great Hazar: that is, our great distant human 
kingdom, the Zarathustra kingdom of a thousand years. 
How distant may this "distant" be? What is that to me? 
But for all that, this is no less certain: with both feet I 
stand firmly on this ground, on eternal ground, on hard 
primeval rock, on this highest, hardest, primeval moun- 
tain range to which all winds come as to the "weather- 
shed" and ask: where? and whence? and whither? 

Laugh, laugh, my bright, wholesome sarcasml From 
high mountains cast down your glittering mocking 
laughterl With your glitter bait me the most beautiful 
human fish! And whatever in all the seas belongs to me, 
my in-and-for-me in all things — that fish out for me, 
that bring up to me: for that I, the most sarcastic of all 
fishermen, am waiting. 

Out, out, my fishing rod! Down, down, bait of my 
happiness! Drip your sweetest dew, honey of my heart! 
Bite, my fishing rod, into the belly of all black melan- 

Out there, out there, my eye! Oh, how many seas sur- 
round me, what dawning human futures! And over me 
—what rose-red stillness! What unclouded silencel 


The next day Zarathustra again sat on his stone be- 
fore his cave, while the animals were roaming through 
the outside world to find new nourishment — also new 

honey, for Zarathustra had spent and squandered the 
old honey down to the last drop. But as he was sitting 
there, a stick in his hand, tracing his shadow on the 
ground, thinking — and verily, not about himself and his 
shadow — he was suddenly frightened, and he started: 
for beside his own shadow he saw another shadow. And 
as he looked around quickly and got up, behold, the 
soothsayer stood beside him — the same he had once 
feted at his table, the proclaimer of the great weariness 
who taught, "All is the same, nothing is worth while, 
the world is without meaning, knowledge strangles." 
But his face had changed meanwhile; and when Zara- 
thustra looked into his eyes, his heart was frightened 
again: so many ill tidings and ashen lightning bolts ran 
over this face. 

The soothsayer, who had noticed what went on in 
Zarathustra's soul, wiped his hand over his face as if he 
wanted to wipe it away; and Zarathustra did likewise. 
And when both had thus silently composed and 
strengthened themselves, they shook hands as a sign 
that they wanted to recognize each other. 

"Welcome," said Zarathustra, "you soothsayer of the 
great weariness; not for nothing were you once my 
guest. Eat and drink with me again today, and forgive 
a cheerful old man for sitting at the table with you." 

"A cheerful old man?" the soothsayer replied, shaking 
his head; "but whatever you may be or want to be, 
Zarathustra, you shall not be up here much longer: soon 
your bark shall not be stranded any more." 

"But am I stranded?" Zarathustra asked, laughing. 

"The waves around your mountain," replied the 
soothsayer, "are climbing and climbing, the waves of 
great distress and melancholy; soon they will lift up 
your bark too, and carry you off." 


Zarathustra fell silent at that and was surprised. 

"Do you not hear anything yet?" continued the sooth- 
sayer. "Does it not rush and roar up from the depth?" 

Zarathustra remained silent and listened, and he 
heard a long, long cry, which the abysses threw to each 
other and handed on, for none wanted to keep it: so 
evil did it sound. 

"You proclaimer of ill tidings," Zarathustra said 
finally, "this is a cry of distress and the cry of a man; it 
might well come out of a black sea. But what is human 
distress to me? My final sin, which has been saved up 
for me — do you know what it is?" 

"Pity!" answered the soothsayer from an overflowing 
heart, and he raised both hands. "O Zarathustra, I have 
come to seduce you to your final sin." 

And no sooner had these words been spoken than the 
cry resounded again, and longer and more anxious than 
before; also much closer now. 

"Do you hear? Do you hear, O Zarathustra?" the 
soothsayer shouted. "The cry is for you. It calls you: 
Come, corne, cornel It is time! It is high time!" 

Then Zarathustra remained silent, confused and 
shaken. At last he asked, as one hesitant in his own 
mind, "And who is it that calls me?" 

"But you know that," replied the soothsayer violently; 
"why do you conceal yourself? It is the higher man that 
cries for youl" 

"The higher man?" cried Zarathustra, seized with 
horror. "What does he want? What does he want? The 
higher man! What does he want here?" And his skin 
was covered with perspiration. 

The soothsayer, however, made no reply to Zara- 
thustra's dread, but listened and listened toward the 
depth. But when there was silence for a long time, he 
turned his glance back and saw Zarathustra standing 

there trembling. "O Zarathustra," he began in a sad 
tone of voice, "you are not standing there as one made 
giddy by his happiness: you had better dance lest you 
fall. But even if you would dance before me, leaping all 
your side-leaps, no one could say to me, 'Behold, here 
dances the last gay man!' Anybody coming to this 
height, looking for that man, would come in vain: caves 
he would find, and caves behind caves, hiding-places 
for those addicted to hiding, but no mines of happiness 
or treasure rooms or new gold veins of happiness. Hap- 
piness — how should one find happiness among hermits 
and those buried like this? Must I still seek the last 
happiness on blessed isles and far away between for- 
gotten seas? But all is the same, nothing is worth while, 
no seeking avails, nor are there any blessed isles any 

Thus sighed the soothsayer. At his last sigh, however, 
Zarathustra grew bright and sure again, like one emerg- 
ing into the light out of a deep gorge. "No! No! Three 
times no!" he shouted with a strong voice and stroked 
his beard. "That I know better: there still are blessed 
isles. Be quiet about that, you sighing bag of sadnessl 
Stop splashing about that, you raincloud in the morning! 
Do I not stand here even now, wet from your melan- 
choly and drenched like a dog? Now I shake myself and 
run away from you to dry again; you must not be sur- 
prised at that. Do I strike you as discourteous? But this 
is my court. As for your higher man — well then, I shall 
look for him at once in those woods: thence came his 
cry. Perhaps an evil beast troubles him there. He is in 
my realm: there he shall not come to grief. And verily, 
there are many evil beasts around me." 

With these words Zarathustra turned to leave. Then 
the soothsayer said, "O Zarathustra, you are a rogue! I 
know it: you want to get rid of me. You would sooner 


run into the woods and look for evil beasts. But what 
will it avail you? In the evening you will have me back 
anyway; in your own cave I shall be sitting, patient and 
heavy as a block — waiting for you." 

"So be it!" Zarathustra shouted back as he was walk- 
ing away. "And whatever is mine in my cave belongs to 
you too, my guest. And if you should find honey in 
there — well, then, lick it up, you growling bear, and 
sweeten your soul. For in the evening we should both 
be cheerful — cheerful and gay that this day has come 
to an end. And you yourself shall dance to my songs as 
my dancing bear. You do not believe it? You shake your 
head? Well then, old bear! But I too am a soothsayer." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Zarathustra had not yet walked an hour in his moun- 
tains and woods when he suddenly saw a strange pro- 
cession. On the very path he wanted to follow down, 
two kings were approaching, adorned with crowns and 
crimson belts and colorful as flamingos; and they were 
driving a laden ass before them. "What do these kings 
want in my realm?" Zarathustra said in his heart, sur- 
prised, and quickly he hid behind a bush. But when the 
kings came close he said half aloud, as if talking to him- 
self, "Strange 1 Strange! How does this fit together? Two 
kings I see — and only one ass!" 

The two kings stopped, smiled, looked in the direc- 
tion from which the voice had come, and then looked 
at each other. "Something of the sort may have occurred 
to one of us too," said the king at the right; "but one 
does not say it." The king at the left, however, shrugged 
his shoulders and replied, "It may well be a goatherd. 


Or a hermit who has lived too long among rocks and 
trees. For no society at all also spoils good manners." 

"Good manners?" the other king retorted angrily and 
bitterly; "then what is it that we are trying to get away 
from? Is it not 'good manners'? Our 'good society'? It is 
indeed better to live among hermits and goatherds than 
among our gilded, false, painted mob — even if they 
call themselves 'good society,' even if they call them- 
selves 'nobility.' They are false and foul through and 
through, beginning with the blood, thanks to bad old 
diseases and worse quacks. Best and dearest to me to- 
day is a healthy peasant, coarse, cunning, stubborn, 
enduring: that is the noblest species today. The peasant 
is the best type today, and the peasant type should be 
master. But it is the realm of the mob; I shall not be 
deceived any more. Mob, however, means hodgepodge. 
Mob-hodgepodge: there everything is mixed up in every 
way, saint and scamp and Junker and Jew and every 
kind of beast out of Noah's ark. Good manners! Every- 
thing among us is false and foul. Nobody knows how to 
revere any longer: we are trying to get away from pre- 
cisely that. They are saccharine, obtrusive curs; they 
gild palm leaves. 

"This nausea suffocates me: we kings ourselves have 
become false, overhung and disguised with ancient yel- 
lowed grandfathers' pomp, showpieces for the most 
stupid and clever and anyone who haggles for power 
today. We are not the first and yet must represent them: 
it is this deception that has come to disgust and nause- 
ate us. We have tried to get away from the rabble, all 
these scream-throats and scribbling bluebottles, the 
shopkeepers' stench, the ambitious wriggling, the foul 
breath — phew for living among the rabble! Phew for 
representing the first among the rabble! Nausea 1 
Nausea! Nausea! What do we kings matter now?" 


"Your old illness is upon you," the king at the left 
said at this point; "nausea is seizing you, my poor 
brother. But you know that somebody is listening to us." 

Immediately Zarathustra, who had opened his ears 
and eyes wide at this talk, rose from his hiding-place, 
walked toward the kings, and began, "He who is listen- 
ing to you, he who likes to listen to you, O kings, is 
called Zarathustra. I am Zarathustra, who once said, 
'What do kings matter now?' Forgive me, I was de- 
lighted when you said to each other, 'What do we kings 
matter now?' Here, however, is my realm and my 
dominion: what might you be seeking in my realm? 
But perhaps you found on your way what I am looking 
for: the higher man." 

When the kings heard this, they beat their breasts 
and said as with one voice, "We have been found out. 
With the sword of this word you cut through our hearts' 
thickest darkness. You have discovered our distress, for 
behold, we are on our way to find the higher man — the 
man who is higher than we, though we are kings. To 
him we are leading this ass. For the highest man shall 
also be the highest lord on earth. Man's fate knows no 
harsher misfortune than when those who have power 
on earth are not also the first men. That makes every- 
thing false and crooked and monstrous. And when they 
are even the last, and more beast than man, then the 
price of the mob rises and rises, and eventually the 
virtue of the mob even says, 'Behold, I alone am virtuel' " 

"What did I just hear?" replied Zarathustra. "What 
wisdom in kings! I am delighted and, verily, even 
feel the desire to make a rhyme on this — even if it 
should be a rhyme which is not fit for everybody's ears. 
I have long become unaccustomed to any consideration 
for long ears. Well thenl" (But at this point it happened 

that the ass too got in a word; but he said clearly and 
with evil intent, Yea-Yuh.) 

"Once — in the year of grace number one, I think — 
The Sibyl said, drunken without any drink, 
'Now everything goes wrongl Oh, woe! 
Decay! The world has never sunk so low! 
Rome sank to whoredom and became a stew, 
The Caesars became beasts, and God — a Jew!' " 


These rhymes of Zarathustra delighted the kings; but 
the king at the right said, "O Zarathustra, how well we 
did to go forth to see you! For your enemies showed us 
your image in their mirror: there you had the mocking 
grimace of a devil, so that we were afraid of you. But 
what could we do? Again and again you pierced our 
ears and hearts with your maxims. So we said at last: 
what difference does it make how he looks? We must 
hear him who teaches: 'You shall love peace as a means 
to new wars, and the short peace more than the long!' 
Nobody ever spoke such warlike words: 'What is good? 
To be brave is good. It is the good war that hallows 
any cause.' Zarathustra, the blood of our fathers stirred 
in our bodies at such words: it was like the speech of 
spring to old wine barrels. When the swords ran wild 
like snakes with red spots, our fathers grew fond of 
life; the sun of all peace struck them as languid and 
lukewarm, and any long peace caused shame. How our 
fathers sighed when they saw flashing dried-up swords 
on the wall! Like them, they thirsted for war. For a 
sword wants to drink blood and glistens with desire." 

When the kings talked thus and chatted eagerly of 
the happiness of their fathers, Zarathustra was overcome 


with no small temptation to mock their eagerness: for 
obviously they were very peaceful kings with old and 
fine faces. But he restrained himself. "Well!" he said, 
"that is where the path leads; there lies Zarathustra's 
cave; and this day shall yet have a long evening. Now, 
however, a cry of distress calls me away from you 
urgently. My cave is honored if kings want to sit in it 
and wait: only, you will have to wait long. But what 
does it matter? Where does one now learn better how 
to wait than at court? And all the virtue left to kings 
today — is it not called: being able to wait?" 
Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


And thoughtfully Zarathustra went farther and 
deeper, through woods and past swampy valleys; but 
as happens to everybody who reflects on grave matters, 
he stepped on a man unwittingly. And behold, all at 
once a cry of pain and two curses and twenty bad in- 
sults splashed into his face and startled him so that he 
raised his stick and beat the man on whom he had 
stepped. A moment later, however, he recovered his 
senses, and his heart laughed at the folly he had just 

"Forgive me," he said to the man he had stepped on, 
who had angrily risen and sat down; "forgive me 
and, above all, listen to a parable first. As a wanderer 
who dreams of distant matters will unwittingly stumble 
over a sleeping dog on a lonely road — a dog lying in 
the sun — and both start and let fly at each other like 
mortal enemies, because both are mortally frightened: 
thus it happened to us. And yet — and yet, how little 
was lacking, and they might have caressed each other, 

this dog and this lonely man. For after all they were 
both lonely." 

"Whoever you may be," said the man he had stepped 
on, still angry, "your parable too offends me, and not 
only your foot. After all, am I a dog?" And at that the 
seated man got up and pulled his bare arm out of the 
swamp. For at first he had been lying stretched out on 
the ground, concealed and unrecognizable, as one lying 
in wait for some swamp animal. 

"But what are you doing?" cried Zarathustra, startled, 
for he saw that much blood was flowing down the bare 
arm. "What has happened to you? Did a bad animal 
bite you, you poor wretch?" 

The bleeding man laughed, still angry. "What is that 
to you?" he said and wanted to go on. "Here I am at 
home and in my realm. Let whoever wants to, ask me; 
but I certainly won't answer a bumpkin." 

"You are wrong," said Zarathustra, full of pity, and 
he held him back. "You are wrong. This is not your 
realm but mine, and here nobody shall come to grief. 
Call me whatever you like; I am who I must be. I call 
myself Zarathustra. Well! Up there runs the path to 
Zarathustra's cave, which is not far. Do you not want 
to look after your wounds in my place? Things have 
gone badly for you in this life, you poor wretch; first 
the beast bit you and then man stepped on you." 

When the man who had been stepped on heard 
Zarathustra's name he changed completely. "What is 
happening to me?" he cried out. "Who else matters to 
me any more in this life but this one man, Zarathustra, 
and that one beast which lives on blood, the leech? 
For the leech's sake I lay here beside this swamp like 
a fisherman, and my arm, which I had cast, had already 
been bitten ten times when a still more beautiful leech 


bit, seeking my blood, Zarathustra himself. O happiness! 
O miracle! Praised be this day that lured me into this 
swamp! Praised be the best, the most alive cupper 
living today, praised be the great leech of the con- 
science, Zarathustra!" 

Thus spoke the man who had been stepped on; and 
Zarathustra enjoyed his words and their fine, respectful 
manner. "Who are you?" he asked and offered him his 
hand. "There is much between us that remains to be 
cleared up and cheered up; but even now, it seems to 
me, the day dawns pure and bright." 

"I am the conscientious in spirit," replied the man; 
"and in matters of the spirit there may well be none 
stricter, narrower, and harder than I, except he from 
whom I have learned it, Zarathustra himself. 

"Rather know nothing than half -know much! Rather 
be a fool on one's own than a sage according to the 
opinion of others! I go to the ground — what does it 
matter whether it be great or small? whether it be 
called swamp or sky? A hand's breadth of ground 
suffices me, provided it is really ground and foundation. 
A hand's breadth of ground— on that one can stand. 
In the conscience of science there is nothing great and 
nothing small." 

"Then perhaps you are the man who knows the 
leech?" Zarathustra asked. "And do you pursue the 
leech to its ultimate grounds, my conscientious friend?" 

"O Zarathustra," replied the man who had been 
stepped on, "that would be an inmensity; how could I 
presume so much! That of which I am the master and 
expert is the brain of the leech: that is my world. And 
it really is a world too. Forgive me that here my pride 
speaks up, for I have no equal here. That is why I said, 
'Here is my home.' How long have I been pursuing this 
one thing, the brain of the leech, lest the slippery truth 

slip away from me here again! Here is my realm. For 
its sake I have thrown away everything else; for its 
sake everything else has become indifferent to me; and 
close to my knowledge lies my black ignorance. 

"The conscience of my spirit demands of me that I 
know one thing and nothing else: I loathe all the half 
in spirit, all the vaporous that hover and rave. 

"Where my honesty ceases, I am blind and I also 
want to be blind. But where I want to know, I also 
want to be honest — that is, hard, strict, narrow, cruel, 
and inexorable. 

"That you, O Zarathustra, once said, 'Spirit is the life 
that itself cuts into life,' that introduced and seduced 
nie to your doctrine. And verily, with my own blood I 
increased my own knowledge." 

"As is quite apparent," Zarathustra interrupted, for 
the blood still flowed down the bare arm of the con- 
scientious man, ten leeches having bitten deep into it. 
"O you strange fellow, how much I learn from what is 
apparent here, namely from you. And perhaps I had 
better not pour all of it into your strict ears. Well! Here 
we part. But I should like to find you again. Up there 
goes the path to my cave: tonight you shall be my dear 
guest there. To your body too, I should like to make 
up for Zarathustra's having stepped on you with his 
feet: I shall reflect on that. Now, however, a cry of 
distress urgently calls me away from you." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


But when Zarathustra came around a rock he beheld, 
not far below on the same path, a man who threw his 
limbs around like a maniac and finally flopped down 


on his belly. "Waitl" Zarathustra said to his heart; "that 
must indeed be the higher man; from him came that 
terrible cry of distress; let me see if he can still be 
helped." But when he ran to the spot where the man lay 
on the ground he found a trembling old man with 
vacant eyes; and however Zarathustra exerted himself 
to help the man to get up on his feet again, it was all 
in vain. Nor did the unfortunate man seem to notice 
that anybody was with him; rather he kept looking 
around with piteous gestures, like one abandoned and 
forsaken by all the world. At last, however, after many 
shudders, convulsions, and contortions, he began to 
moan thus: 

"Who warms me, who loves me still? 
Give hot handsl 
Give a heart as glowing coalsl 
Stretched out, shuddering, 

Like something half dead whose feet one warms — 

Shaken, alas, by unknown fevers, 

Shivering with piercing icy frost-arrows, 

Hunted by thee, O thought! 

Unnamable, shrouded, terrible onel 

Thou hunter behind clouds! 

Struck down by thy lightning bolt, 

Thou mocking eye that stares at me from the dark: 

Thus I lie 

Writhing, twisting, tormented 
With all eternal tortures, 

By thee, crudest hunter, 
Thou unknown god! 

Hit deeper! 

Hit once more yet! 

Drive a stake through and break this heart! 

Why this torture 
With blunt-toothed arrows? 
Why dost thou stare again, 
Not yet weary of human agony, 
With gods' lightning eyes that delight in suffering? 
Thou wouldst not kill, 
Only torture, torture? 
Why torture me, 

Delighted by suffering, thou unknown god? 

Hah! hah! Thou art crawling close? 

In such midnight — 

What dost thou want? Speak! 

Thou art crowding, pressing me — 

Hah! Far too close! 

Away! Away! 

Thou art listening to me breathe, 

Thou art listening to my heart, 

Thou jealous one — 

Jealous of what? 

Away! Away! Why the ladder? 

Wouldst thou enter 

The heart, 

Climb in, deep into my 

Most secret thoughts? 

Shameless one! Unknown thief 1 

What wouldst thou steal? 

What wouldst thou gain by listening? 

What wouldst thou gain by torture, 

Thou torturer! 

Thou hangman-god! 

Or should I, doglike, 

Roll before thee? 

Devotedly, frantic, beside myself, 

Wag love to thee? 


In vain! Pierce on, 

Crudest thorn! No, 

No dog — only thy game am I, 

Crudest hunter! 

Thy proudest prisoner, 

Thou robber behind clouds! 

Speak at last! 

What wouldst thou, waylayer, from me? 

Thou lightning-shrouded one! Unknown one! Speak, 

What wilt thou, unknown — god? 

What? Ransom? 
Why wilt thou ransom? 
Demand much! Thus my pride advises. 
And make thy speech short! That my other pride 

Hah, hah! 

Me thou wilt have? Me? 
Me — entirely? 

Hah, hah! 

And art torturing me, fool that thou art, 
Torturing my pride? 
Give love to me — who warms me still? 
Who loves me still? — Give hot hands, 
Give a heart as glowing coals, 
Give me, the loneliest 
Whom ice, alas, sevenfold ice 
Teaches to languish for enemies, 
Even for enemies, 
Give, yes, give wholly, 
Crudest enemy, 
Give me — thyself! 



He himself fled, 

My last, only companion, 

My great enemy, 

My unknown, 

My hangman-god. 

Nol Do come back 

With all thy torturesl 

To the last of all that are lonely, 

Oh, come backl 

All my tear-streams run 

Their course to thee; 

And my heart's final flame — 

Flares up for thee! 

Oh, come back, 

My unknown god I My pain! My last — happiness!" 


At this point, however, Zarathustra could not restrain 
himself any longer, raised his stick, and started to beat 
the moaning man with all his might. "Stop it!" he 
shouted at him furiously. "Stop it, you actor! You 
counterfeiter! You liar from the bottoml I recognize you 
well! I'll warm your legs for you, you wicked magician. 
I know well how to make things hot for such as you." 

"Leave off!" the old man said and leaped up from the 
ground. "Don't strike any more, Zarathustra! I did all 
this only as a game. Such things belong to my art; it 
was you that I wanted to try when I treated you to this 
tryout. And verily, you have seen through me very well. 
But you too have given me no small sample of yourself to 
try out: you are hard, wise Zarathustra. Hard do you hit 
with your 'truths'; your stick forces this truth out of me." 


"Don't flatterl" replied Zarathustra, still excited and 
angry, "you actor from the bottoml You are false; why 
do you talk of truth? You peacock of peacocks, you sea 
of vanity, what were you playing before me, you wicked 
magician? In whom was I to believe when you were 
moaning in this way?" 

"The ascetic of the spirit" said the old man, "I played 
him — you yourself once coined this word — the poet 
and magician who at last tums his spirit against him- 
self, the changed man who freezes to death from his 
evil science and conscience. And you may as well con- 
fess it: it took a long time, O Zarathustra, before you 
saw through my art and lie. You believed in my distress 
when you held my head with both your hands; I heard 
you moan, 'He has been loved too little, loved too little.* 
That I deceived you to that extent made my malice 
jubilate inside me." 

"You may have deceived people subtler than I," 
Zarathustra said harshly. "I do not guard against 
deceivers; I have to be without caution; thus my lot 
wants it. You, however, have to deceive: that far I 
know you. You always have to be equivocal — tri-, 
quadri-, quinquevocal. And what you have now con- 
fessed, that too was not nearly true enough or false 
enough to suit me. You wicked counterfeiter, how could 
you do otherwise? You would rouge even your disease 
when you show yourself naked to your doctor. In the 
same way you have just now rouged your lie when you 
said to me, 'I did all this only as a game.' There was 
seriousness in it too: you are something of an ascetic 
of the spirit. I solve your riddle: your magic has 
enchanted everybody, but no lie or cunning is left to 
you to use against yourself: you are disenchanted for 
yourself. You have harvested nausea as your one truth. 
Not a word of yours is genuine any more, except your 


mouth — namely, the nausea that sticks to your mouth." 

"Who are you?" cried the old magician at this point, 
his voice defiant. "Who may speak thus to me, the 
greatest man alive today?" And a green lightning bolt 
flashed from his eye toward Zarathustra. But immedi- 
ately afterward he changed and said sadly, "O Zara- 
thustra, I am weary of it; my art nauseates me; I am 
not great — why do I dissemble? But you know it too: 
I sought greatness. I wanted to represent a great human 
being and I persuaded many; but this lie went beyond 
my strength. It is breaking me. O Zarathustra, every- 
thing about me is a lie; but that I am breaking — this, 
my breaking, is genuine." 

"It does you credit," said Zarathustra gloomily, look- 
ing aside to the ground, "it does you credit that you 
sought greatness, but it also betrays you. You are not 
great. You wicked old magician, this is what is best 
and most honest about you, and this I honor: that you 
wearied of yourself and said it outright: 'I am not 
great.' In this I honor you as an ascetic of the spirit; 
and even if it was only a wink and a twinkling, in this 
one moment you were genuine. 

"But speak, what are you seeking here in my woods 
and rocks? And lying down on my path, how did you 
want to try me? In what way were you seeking to test 
me?" Thus spoke Zarathustra, and his eyes flashed. 

The old magician remained silent for a while, then 
said, "Did I seek to test you? I — merely seek. O Zara- 
thustra, I seek one who is genuine, right, simple, 
unequivocal, a man of all honest)', a vessel of wisdom, 
a saint of knowledge, a great human being. Do you not 
know it, Zarathustra? I seek Zarathustra." 

And at this point there began a long silence between 
the two. But Zarathustra became deeply absorbed and 


closed his eyes. Then, however, returning to his partner 
in the conversation, he seized the hand of the magician 
and said, full of kindness and cunning, "Well! Up there 
goes the path; there lies Zarathustra's cave. There you 
may seek him whom you would find. And ask my 
animals for advice, my eagle and my serpent: they ' shall 
help you seek. But my cave is large. I myself, to be 
sure — I have not yet seen a great human being. For 
what is great, even the eyes of the subtlest today are 
too coarse. It is the realm of the mob. Many have I seen, 
swollen and straining, and the people cried, 'Behold a 
great man!' But what good are all bellows? In the end, 
the wind comes out. In the end, a frog which has 
puffed itself up too long will burst: the wind comes out. 
To stab a swollen man in the belly, I call that a fine 
pastime. Hear it well, little boys! 

"Today belongs to the mob: who could still know 
what is great and what small? Who could still success- 
fully seek greatness? Only a fool: fools succeed. You 
seek great human beings, you queer fool? Who taught 
you that? Is today the time for that? O you wicked 
seeker, why did you seek to test me?" 

Thus spoke Zarathustra, his heart comforted, and he 
continued on his way, laughing. 


Not long, however, after Zarathustra had got away 
from the magician, he again saw somebody sitting by 
the side of his path: a tall man in black, with a gaunt 
pale face; and this man displeased him exceedingly. 
"Alas!" he said to his heart, "there sits muffled-up 
melancholy, looking like the tribe of priests: what do 
they want in my realm? How now? I have scarcely 
escaped that magician; must another black artist cross 

my way so soon — some wizard with laying-on of hands, 
some dark miracle worker by the grace of God, some 
anointed world-slanderer whom the devil should fetch? 
But the devil is never where he should be: he always 
comes too late, this damned dwarf and clubfoot!" 

Thus cursed Zarathustra, impatient in his heart, and 
he wondered how he might sneak past the black man, 
looking the other way. But behold, it happened other- 
wise. For at the same moment the seated man had 
already spotted him; and not unlike one on whom un- 
expected good fortune has been thrust, he jumped up 
and walked toward Zarathustra. 

"Whoever you may be, you wanderer," he said, "help 
one who has lost his way, a seeker, an old man who 
might easily come to grief here. This region is remote 
and strange to me, and I have heard wild animals 
howling; and he who might have offered me protection 
no longer exists himself. I sought the last pious man, a 
saint and hermit who, alone in his forest, had not yet 
heard what all the world knows today." 

"What does all the world know today?" asked Zara- 
thustra. "Perhaps this, that the old god in whom all 
the world once believed no longer lives?" 

"As you say," replied the old man sadly. "And I 
served that old god until his last hour. But now I am 
retired, without a master, and yet not free, nor ever 
cheerful except in my memories. That is why I climbed 
these mountains, that I might again have a festival at 
last, as is fitting for an old pope and church father — for 
behold, I am the last pope — a festival of pious memories 
and divine services. But now he himself is dead, the 
most pious man, that saint in the forest who constantly 
praised his god with singing and humming. I did not 
find him when I found his cave; but there were two 
wolves inside, howling over his death, for all animals 


loved him. So I ran away. Had I then come to these 

woods and mountains in vain? Then my heart decided 

that I should seek another man, the most pious of all 

those who do not believe in God — that I should seek 


Thus spoke the old man, and he looked with sharp 
eyes at the man standing before him; but Zarathustra 
seized the hand of the old pope and long contemplated 
it with admiration. "Behold, venerable one!" he said 
then; "what a beautiful long hand! That is the hand of 
one who has always dispensed blessings. But now it 
holds him whom you seek, me, Zarathustra. It is I, the 
godless Zarathustra, who speaks: who is more godless 
than I, that I may enjoy his instruction?" 

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and with his glances he 
pierced the thoughts and the thoughts behind the 
thoughts of the old pope. At last the pope began, "He 
who loved and possessed him most has also lost him 
most now; behold, now I myself am probably the more 
godless of the two of us. But who could rejoice in that?" 

"You served him to the last?" Zarathustra asked 
thoughtfully after a long silence. "You know how he 
died? Is it true what they say, that pity strangled him, 
that he saw how man hung on the cross and that he 
could not bear it, that love of man became his hell, and 
in the end his death?" 

The old pope, however, did not answer but looked 
aside, shy, with a pained and gloomy expression. "Let 
him go!" Zarathustra said after prolonged reflection, 
still looking the old man straight in the eye. "Let him 
go! He is gone. And although it does you credit that 
you say only good things about him who is now dead, 
you know as well as I who he was, and that his ways 
were queer." 

"Speaking in the confidence of three eyes," the old 

pope said cheerfully (for he was blind in one eye), "in 
what pertains to God, I am — and have the right to be 
— more enlightened than Zarathustra himself. My love 
served him many years, my will followed his will in 
everything. A good servant, however, knows everything, 
including even things that his master conceals from 
himself. He was a concealed god, addicted to secrecy. 
Verily, even a son he got himself in a sneaky way. At 
the door of his faith stands adultery. 

"Whoever praises him as a god of love does not have 
a high enough opinion of love itself. Did this god not 
want to be a judge too? But the lover loves beyond 
reward and retribution. 

"When he was young, this god out of the Orient, he 
was harsh and vengeful and he built himself a hell to 
amuse his favorites. Eventually, however, he became 
old and soft and mellow and pitying, more like a grand- 
father than a father, but most like a shaky old grand- 
mother. Then he sat in his nook by the hearth, wilted, 
grieving over his weak legs, weary of the world, weary 
of willing, and one day he choked on his all-too-great 


"You old pope," Zarathustra interrupted at this point, 
"did you see that with your own eyes? Surely it might 
have happened that way — that way, and also in some 
other way. When gods die, they always die several 
kinds of death. But — well then! This way or that, this 
way and that — he is gone! He offended the taste of my 
ears and eyes; I do not want to say anything worse 
about him now that he is dead. 

"I love all that looks bright and speaks honestly. But 
he — you know it, you old priest, there was something 
of your manner about him, of the priest's manner: he 
was equivocal. He was also indistinct. How angry he 
got with us, this wrath-snorter, because we understood 


him badly! But why did he not speak more cleanly? 
And if it was the fault of our ears, why did he give us 
ears that heard him badly? If there was mud in our 
ears — well, who put it there? He bungled too much, this 
potter who had never finished his apprenticeship. But 
that he wreaked revenge on his pots and creations for 
having bungled them himself, that was a sin against 
good taste. There is good taste in piety too; and it was 
this that said in the end, 'Away with such a god! Rather 
no god, rather make destiny on one's own, rather be a 
fool, rather be a god oneself!' " 

"What is this I hear?" said the old pope at this 
point, pricking up his ears. "O Zarathustra, with such 
disbelief you are more pious than you believe. Some 
god in you must have converted you to your godlessness. 
Is it not your piety itself that no longer lets you believe 
in a god? And your overgreat honesty will yet lead you 
beyond good and evil too. Behold, what remains to you? 
You have eyes and hands and mouth, predestined for 
blessing from all eternity. One does not bless with the 
hand alone. Near you, although you want to be the 
most godless, I scent a secret, sacred, pleasant scent of 
long blessings: it gives me gladness and grief. Let me 
be your guest, O Zarathustra, for one single night! No- 
where on earth shall I now feel better than with you." 

"Amen! So be itl" said Zarathustra in great astonish- 
ment. "Up there goes the way, there lies Zarathustra's 
cave. I should indeed like to accompany you there my- 
self, you venerable one, for I love all who are pious. But 
now a cry of distress urgently calls me away from you. 
In my realm no one shall come to grief; my cave is a 
good haven. And I wish that I could put everyone who 
is sad back on firm land and firm legs. 

"But who could take your melancholy off your shoul- 
ders? For that I am too weak. Verily, we might wait 

long before someone awakens your god again. For this 
old god lives no more: he is thoroughly dead." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


And again Zarathustra's feet ran over mountains and 
through woods, and his eyes kept seeking, but he whom 
they wanted to see was nowhere to be seen: the great 
distressed one who had cried out. All along the way, 
however, Zarathustra jubilated in his heart and was 
grateful. "What good things," he said, "has this day 
given me to make up for its bad beginning! What 
strange people have I found to talk withl Now I shall 
long chew their words like good grains; my teeth shall 
grind them and crush them small till they flow like milk 
into my soul." 

But when the path turned around a rock again the 
scenery changed all at once, and Zarathustra entered a 
realm of death. Black and red cliffs rose rigidly: no 
grass, no tree, no bird's voice. For it was a valley that 
all animals avoided, even the beasts of prey; only a 
species of ugly fat green snakes came here to die when 
they grew old. Therefore the shepherds called this 
valley Snakes' Death. 

Zarathustra, however, sank into a black reminiscence, 
for he felt as if he had stood in this valley once before. 
And much that was grave weighed on his mind; he 
walked slowly, and still more slowly, and finally stood 
still. But when he opened his eyes he saw something 
sitting by the way, shaped like a human being, yet 
scarcely like a human being — something inexpressible. 
And all at once a profound sense of shame overcame 
Zarathustra for having laid eyes on such a thing: 
blushing right up to his white hair, he averted his eyes 


and raised his feet to leave this dreadful place. But at 
that moment the dead waste land was filled with a 
noise, for something welled up from the ground, gur- 
gling and rattling, as water gurgles and rattles by night 
in clogged waterpipes; and at last it became a human 
voice and human speech — thus: 

"Zarathustra! Zarathustral Guess my riddlel Speak, 
speak! What is the revenge against the witness? I lure 
you back, here is slippery ice. Take care, take care that 
your pride does not break its legs here! You think your- 
self wise, proud Zarathustra. Then guess the riddle, you 
cracker of hard nuts — the riddle that I am. Speak then: 
who am I?" 

But when Zarathustra had heard these words — what 
do you suppose happened to his soul? Pity seized him; 
and he sank down all at once, like an oak tree that has 
long resisted many woodcutters — heavily, suddenly, 
terrifying even those who had wanted to fell it. But im- 
mediately he rose from the ground again, and his face 
became hard. 

"I recognize you well," he said in a voice of bronze; 
"you are the murderer of God! Let me go. You could 
not bear him who saw you — who always saw you 
through and through, you ugliest man! You took re- 
venge on this witness!" 

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and he wanted to leave; but 
the inexpressible one seized a comer of his garment and 
began again to gurgle and seek for words. "Stay!" he 
said finally. "Stay! Do not pass by! I have guessed what 
ax struck you to the ground: hail to you, O Zarathustra, 
that you stand again! You have guessed, I know it 
well, how he who killed him feels — the murderer of 
God. Stay! Sit down here with me! It is not for nothing. 
Whom did I want to reach, if not you? Stay! Sit downl 
But do not look at me! In that way honor my ugliness! 


They persecute me; now you are my last refuge. Not 
with their hatred, not with their catchpoles: I would 
mock such persecution and be proud and glad of itl 

"Has not all success hitherto been with the well- 
persecuted? And whoever persecutes well, learns readily 
how to follow; for he is used to going after somebody 
else. But it is their pity — it is their pity that I flee, 
fleeing to you. O Zarathustra, protect me, you my last 
refuge, the only one who has solved my riddle: you 
guessed how he who killed him feels. Stay! And if you 
would go, you impatient one, do not go the way I 
came. That way is bad. Are you angry with me that I 
have even now stammered too long — and even advise 
you? But know, it is I, the ugliest man, who also has 
the largest and heaviest feet. Where I have gone, the 
way is bad. I tread all ways till they are dead and 

"But that you passed me by, silent; that you blushed, 
I saw it well: that is how I recognized you as Zara- 
thustra. Everyone else would have thrown his alms to 
me, his pity, with his eyes and words. But for that I 
am not beggar enough, as you guessed; for that I am 
too rich, rich in what is great, in what is terrible, in 
what is ugliest, in what is most inexpressible. Your 
shame, Zarathustra, honored me! With difficulty I 
escaped the throng of the pitying, to find the only one 
today who teaches, 'Pity is obtrusive' — you, O Zara- 
thustra. Whether it be a god's pity or man's — pity 
offends the sense of shame. And to be unwilling to help 
can be nobler than that virtue which jumps to help. 

"But today that is called virtue itself among all the 
little people — pity. They have no respect for great mis- 
fortune, for great ugliness, for great failure. Over this 
multitude I look away as a dog looks away over the 
backs of teeming flocks of sheep. They are little gray 


people, full of good wool and good will. As a heron 
looks away contemptuously over shallow ponds, its 
head leaning back, thus I look away over the teeming 
mass of gray little waves and wills and souls. Too long 
have we conceded to them that they are right, these 
little people; so that in the end we have also conceded 
them might. Now they teach: 'Good is only what little 
people call good.' 

"And today 'truth' is what the preacher said, who 
himself came from among them, that queer saint and 
advocate of the little people who bore witness about 
himself: 'I am the truth.' This immodest fellow has long 
given the little people swelled heads — he who taught 
no small error when he taught, 'I am the truth.' Has an 
immodest fellow ever been answered more politely? 
You, however, O Zarathustra, passed him by and said, 
*Nol No! Three times no!' You warned against his error, 
you, as the first, warned against pity — not all, not none, 
but you and your kind. 

"You are ashamed of the shame of the great sufferer; 
and verily, when you say, 'From pity, a great cloud 
approaches; beware, O men!'; when you teach, 'All 
creators are hard, all great love is over and above its 
pity' — O Zarathustra, how well you seem to me to un- 
derstand storm signs. But you — warn yourself also 
against your pity. For many are on their way to you, 
many who are suffering, doubting, despairing, drown- 
ing, freezing. And I also wam you against myself. You 
guessed my best, my worst riddle: myself and what I 
did. I know the ax that fells you. 

"But he had to die: he saw with eyes that saw every- 
thing; he saw man's depths and ultimate grounds, all 
his concealed disgrace and ugliness. His pity knew no 
shame: he crawled into my dirtiest nooks. This most 
curious, overobtrusive, overpitying one had to die. He 

always saw me: on such a witness I wanted to have 
revenge or not live myself. The god who saw every- 
thing, even man — this god had to die! Man cannot 
bear it that such a witness should live." 

Thus spoke the ugliest man. But Zarathustra rose and 
was about to leave, for he felt frozen down to his very 
entrails. "You inexpressible one," he said, "you have 
warned me against your way. In thanks I shall praise 
mine to you. Behold, up there lies Zarathustra's cave. 
My cave is large and deep and has many nooks; even 
the most hidden can find a hiding-place there. And 
close by there are a hundred dens and lodges for crawl- 
ing, fluttering, and jumping beasts. You self -exiled exile, 
would you not live among men and men's pity? Well 
then! Do as I do. Thus you also leam from me; only 
the doer learns. And speak first of all to my animals. 
The proudest animal and the wisest animal — they 
should be the right counselors for the two of us." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and he went his way, still 
more reflectively and slowly than before; for he asked 
himself much, and he did not know how to answer him- 
self readily. "How poor man is after all," he thought in 
his heart; "how ugly, how wheezing, how full of hidden 
shame! I have been told that man loves himself: ah, 
how great must this self-love be! How much contempt 
stands against it! This fellow too loved himself, even as 
he despised himself: a great lover he seems to me, and 
a great despiser. None have I found yet who despised 
himself more deeply: that too is a kind of height. Alas, 
was he perhaps the higher man whose cry I heard? I 
love the great despisers. Man, however, is something 
that must be overcome." 



When Zarathustra had left the ugliest man, he felt 
frozen and lonely: for much that was cold and lonely 
passed through his mind and made his limbs too feel 
colder. But as he climbed on and on, up and down, now 
past green pastures, then again over wild stony places 
where an impatient brook might once have made its 
bed, all at once he felt warmer and more cheerful again. 

"What happened to me?" he asked himself. "Some- 
thing warm and alive refreshes me, something that 
must be near me. Even now I am less alone; unknown 
companions and brothers roam about me; their warm 
breath touches my soul." 

But when he looked around to find those who had 
comforted his loneliness, behold, they were cows, stand- 
ing together on a knoll; their proximity and smell had 
warmed his heart. These cows, however, seemed to be 
listening eagerly to a speaker and did not heed him 
that was approaching. But when Zarathustra had come 
quite close to them, he heard distinctly that a human 
voice was speaking in the middle of the herd; and they 
had evidently all turned their heads toward the speaker. 

Thereupon Zarathustra jumped up eagerly and 
pushed the animals apart, for he was afraid that some- 
body had suffered some harm here, which the pity of 
cows could scarcely cure. But he was wrong, for be- 
hold, there sat a man on the ground, and he seemed to 
be urging the animals to have no fear of him, a peace- 
ful man and sermonizer on the mount out of whose 
eyes goodness itself was preaching. "What do you seek 
here?" shouted Zarathustra, amazed. 

"What do I seek here?" he replied. "The same thing 

you are seeking, you disturber of the peace: happiness 
on earth. But I want to learn that from these cows. For, 
you know, I have already been urging them half the 
morning, and just now they wanted to tell me. Why do 
you disturb them? 

"Except we turn back and become as cows, we shall 
not enter the kingdom of heaven. For we ought to learn 
one thing from them: chewing the cud. And verily, 
what would it profit a man if he gained the whole 
world and did not learn this one thing: chewing the 
cudl He would not get rid of his melancholy — his great 
melancholy; but today that is called nausea. Who today 
does not have his heart, mouth, and eyes full of nausea? 
You tool You tool But behold these cows!" 

Thus spoke the sermonizer on the mount, and then 
he turned his own eyes toward Zarathustra, for until 
then they had dwelt lovingly on the cows. But then his 
eyes changed. "Who is this to whom I am talking?" he 
cried, startled, and jumped up from the ground. "This 
is the man without nausea, this is Zarathustra himself, 
the man who overcame the great nausea; this is the 
eye, this is the mouth, this is the heart of Zarathustra 
himself." And as he spoke thus, he kissed the hands of 
the man to whom he was talking, and his eyes welled 
over, and he behaved exactly as one to whom a precious 
gift and treasure falls unexpectedly from the sky. But 
the cows watched all this with amazement. 

"Do not speak of me, you who are so strange, so 
lovely 1" Zarathustra said and restrained his tender af- 
fection. "First speak to me of yourself. Are you not the 
voluntary beggar who once threw away great riches? 
Who was ashamed of his riches and of the rich, and 
fled to the poorest to give them his fullness and his 
heart? But they did not accept him." 


"But they did not accept me," said the voluntary 

beggar; "you know it. So I finally went to the animals 

and to these cows." 

"There you have learned," Zarathustra interrupted 

the speaker, "how right giving is harder than right 

receiving, and that to give presents well is an art and 

the ultimate and most cunning master-art of gracious- 


"Especially today," answered the voluntary beggar; 
"today, I mean, when everything base has become re- 
bellious and shy and, in its own way, arrogant — I mean, 
in the way of the mob. For the hour has come, you 
know it, for the great, bad, long, slow revolt of the 
mob and slaves: it grows and grows. Now the base are 
outraged by any charity and any little giving away; and 
the overrich should beware. Whoever drips today, like 
bulging bottles out of all-too-narrow necks — such bot- 
tles they like to seize today to break their necks. 
Lascivious greed, galled envy, aggrieved vengefulness, 
mob pride: all that leaped into my face. It is no longer 
true that the poor are blessed. But the kingdom of 
heaven is among the cows." 

"And why is it not among the rich?" asked Zara- 
thustra temptingly as he warded off the cows, which 
were breathing trustingly on the peaceful man. 

"Why do you tempt me?" he replied. "You yourself 
know it even better than I. What was it after all that 
drove me to the poorest, O Zarathustra? Was it not that 
I was nauseated by our richest men? By the convicts of 
riches, who pick up their advantage out of any rubbish, 
with cold eyes, lewd thoughts; by this rabble that 
stinks to high heaven; by this gilded, false mob whose 
fathers have been pickpockets or carrion birds or 
ragpickers — with women, obliging, lascivious, and for- 

getful: for none of them is too far from the whores — 
mob above and mob below! What do 'poor' and 'rich* 
matter today? This difference I have forgotten. I fled, 
farther, ever farther, till I came to these cows." 

Thus spoke the peaceful man, and he himself 
breathed hard and sweated as he spoke, so that the 
cows were amazed again. But Zarathustra kept looking 
into his face, smiling as he spoke so harshly, and 
silently he shook his head. "You do yourself violence, 
you sermonizer on the mount, when you use such harsh 
words. Your mouth was not formed for such harshness, 
nor your eyes. Nor, it seems to me, your stomach either: 
it is offended by all such wrath and hatred and frothing. 
Your stomach wants gentler things: you are no butcher. 
You seem much more like a plant-and-root man to me. 
Perhaps you gnash grain. Certainly, however, you are 
averse to the joys of the flesh and you love honey." 

"You have unriddled me well," answered the volun- 
tary beggar, his heart relieved. "I love honey; I also 
gnash grain, for I sought what tastes lovely and gives 
a pure breath; also what takes a long time, a day's and 
a mouth's work for gentle idlers and loafers. Nobody, 
to be sure, has achieved more than these cows: they 
invented for themselves chewing the cud and lying in 
the sun. And they abstain from all grave thoughts, 
which bloat the heart." 

"Well then!" said Zarathustra. "You should also see 
rrnj animals, my eagle and my serpent: their like is not 
to be found on earth today. Behold, there goes the way 
to my cave: be its guest tonight. And talk with my ani- 
mals of the happiness of animals — till I myself return 
home. For now a cry of distress urgently calls me away 
from you. You will also find new honey in my cave, ice- 
fresh golden comb honey: eat that! But now quickly 


take leave from your cows, you who are so strange, so 
lovelyl — though it may be hard for you. For they are 
your warmest friends and teachers." 

"Excepting one whom I love still more," answered the 
voluntary beggar. "You yourself are good, and even 
better than a cow, O Zarathustra." 

"Away, away with you, you wicked flatterer!" Zara- 
thustra cried with malice. "Why do you corrupt me with 
such praise and honeyed flattery? Away, away from 
me!" he cried once more and brandished his stick at 
the affectionate beggar, who ran away quickly. 


But as soon as the voluntary beggar had run away 
and Zarathustra was alone again, he heard a new voice 
behind him, shouting, "Stop, Zarathustra! Wait! It is I, 
O Zarathustra, I, your shadow!" But Zarathustra did not 
wait, for a sudden annoyance came over him at the 
many intruders and obtruders in his mountains. "Where 
has my solitude gone?" he said. "Verily, it is becoming 
too much for me; this mountain range is teeming, my 
kingdom is no longer of this world, I need new moun- 
tains. My shadow calls me? What does my shadow 
matter? Let him run after me! I shall run away from 

Thus spoke Zarathustra to his heart, and he ran away. 
But he who was behind him followed him, so that soon 
there were three runners, one behind the other, first the 
voluntary beggar, then Zarathustra, and third and last 
his shadow. It was not long that they ran this way be- 
fore Zarathustra realized his folly and with a single 
shrug shook off all discontent and disgust. "Weill" he 
said; "have not the most ridiculous things always hap- 
pened among us old hermits and saints? Verily, my 


folly has grown tall in the mountains. Now I hear six 
old fools' legs clattering along in a row. But may 
Zarathustra be afraid of a shadow? Moreover, it seems 
to me that he has longer legs than V 

Thus spoke Zarathustra, laughing with his eyes and 
entrails; he stopped quickly and turned around — and 
behold, he almost threw his follower and shadow to the 
ground: so close was the shadow by then, and so weak 
too. And when Zarathustra examined him with his 
eyes, he was startled as by a sudden ghost: so thin, 
swarthy, hollow, and outlived did this follower look. 
"Who are you?" Zarathustra asked violently. "What are 
you doing here? And why do you call yourself my 
shadow? I do not like you." 

"Forgive me," answered the shadow, "that it is I; 
and if you do not like me, well then, O Zarathustra, for 
that I praise you and your good taste. I am a wanderer 
who has already walked a great deal at your heels — 
always on my way, but without any goal, also without 
any home; so that I really lack little toward being the 
Eternal Jew, unless it be that I am not eternal, and not 
a Jew. How? Must I always be on my way? Whirled 
by every wind, restless, driven on? O earth, thou hast 
become too round for mel 

"I have already sat on every surface; like weary dust, 
I have gone to sleep on mirrors and windowpanes: every- 
thing takes away from me, nothing gives, I become 
thin — I am almost like a shadow. But after you, O Zara- 
thustra, I flew and blew the longest; and even when I 
hid from you I was still your best shadow: wherever 
you sat, I sat too. 

"With you I haunted the remotest, coldest worlds 
like a ghost that runs voluntarily over wintery roofs and 
snow. With you I strove to penetrate everything that 
is forbidden, worst, remotest; and if there is anything in 


me that is virtue, it is that I had no fear of any for- 
biddance. With you I broke whatever my heart revered; 
I overthrew all boundary stones and images; I pursued 
the most dangerous wishes: verily, over every crime I 
have passed once. With you I unlearned faith in words 
and values and great names. When the devil sheds his 
skin, does not his name fall off too? For that too is skin. 
The devil himself is perhaps — skin. 

"'Nothing is true, all is permitted': thus I spoke to 
myself. Into the coldest waters I plunged, with head 
and heart. Alas, how often have I stood there afterward, 
naked as a red crab! Alas, where has all that is good 
gone from me — and all shame, and all faith in those 
who are good? Alas, where is that mendacious inno- 
cence that I once possessed, the innocence of the good 
and their noble lies? 

"Too often, verily, did I follow close on the heels of 
truth: so she kicked me in the face. Sometimes I thought 
I was lying, and behold, only then did I hit the truth. 
Too much has become clear to me: now it no longer 
concerns me. Nothing is alive any more that I love; how 
should I still love myself? 'To live as it pleases me, or 
not to live at all': that is what I want, that is what the 
saintliest want too. But alas, how could anything please 
me any more? Do I have a goal any more? A haven 
toward which my sail is set? A good wind? Alas, only 
he who knows where he is sailing also knows which 
wind is good and the right wind for him. What is left 
to me now? A heart, weary and impudent, a restless 
will, flutter-wings, a broken backbone. Trying thus to 
find my home — O Zarathustra, do you know it? — trying 
this was my trial; it consumes me. 'Where is — my home?' 
I ask and search and have searched for it, but I have 
not found it. O eternal everywhere, O eternal nowhere, 
O eternal — in vainl" 

Thus spoke the shadow, and Zarathustra's face grew 
long as he listened. "You are my shadow," he finally said 
sadly. "Your danger is no small one, you free spirit and 
wanderer. You have had a bad day; see to it that you 
do not have a still worse evening. To those who are as 
restless as you, even a jail will at last seem bliss. Have 
you ever seen how imprisoned criminals sleep? They 
sleep calmly, enjoying their new security. Beware lest 
a narrow faith imprison you in the end — some harsh 
and severe illusion. For whatever is narrow and solid 
seduces and tempts you now. 

"You have lost your goal; alas, how will you digest 
and jest over this loss? With this you have also lost 
your way. You poor roaming enthusiast, you weary 
butterfly! Would you have a rest and home this evening? 
Then go up to my cave. Up there goes the path to my 

"And now let me quickly run away from you again. 
Even now a shadow seems to lie over me. I want to 
run alone so that it may become bright around me 
again. For that, I shall still have to stay merrily on my 
legs a long time. In the evening, however, there will 
be dancing in my cave." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


And Zarathustra ran and ran and did not find any- 
body any more, and he was alone and found himself 
again and again, and he enjoyed and quaffed his 
solitude and thought of good things for hours. But 
around the hour of noon, when the sun stood straight 
over Zarathustra's head, he came to an old crooked 
and knotty tree that was embraced, and hidden from 
itself, by the rich love of a grapevine; and yellow 


grapes hung from it in abundance, inviting the wan- 
derer. Then he felt the desire to quench a slight thirst 
and to break off a grape; but even as he was stretch- 
ing out his arm to do so, he felt a still greater desire for 
something else: namely, to lie down beside the tree at 
the perfect noon hour, and to sleep. 

This Zarathustra did; and as soon as he lay on the 
ground in the stillness and secrecy of the many-hued 
grass, he forgot his slight thirst and fell asleep. For, as 
Zarathustra's proverb says, one thing is more necessary 
than another. Only his eyes remained open: for they 
did not tire of seeing and praising the tree and the 
love of the grapevine. Falling asleep, however, Zara- 
thustra spoke thus to his heart: 

Stilll Still! Did not the world become perfect just 
how? What is happening to me? As a delicate wind 
dances unseen on an inlaid sea, light, feather-light, 
thus sleep dances on me. My eyes he does not close, 
my soul he leaves awake. Light he is, verily, feather- 
light. He persuades me, I know not how. He touches 
me inwardly with caressing hands, he conquers me. Yes, 
he conquers me and makes my soul stretch out: how 
she is becoming long and tired, my strange soull Did 
the eve of a seventh day come to her at noon? Has she 
already roamed happily among good and ripe things 
too long? She stretches out long, long — longer. She 
lies still, my strange soul. Too much that is good has 
she tasted; this golden sadness oppresses her, she makes 
a wry mouth. 

Like a ship that has sailed into its stillest cove — now 
it leans against the earth, tired of the long voyages 
and the uncertain seas. Is not the earth more faithful? 
The way such a ship lies close to, and nestles to, the 
land — it is enough if a spider spins its thread to it from 
the land: no stronger ropes are needed now. Like such 


a tired ship in the stillest cove, I too rest now near the 
earth, faithful, trusting, waiting, tied to it with the 
softest threads. 

O happiness! O happinessl Would you sing, O my 
soul? You are lying in the grass. But this is the secret 
solemn hour when no shepherd plays his pipe. Refrain! 
Hot noon sleeps on the meadows. Do not singl Still! 
The world is perfect. Do not sing, you winged one in 
the grass, O my soul — do not even whisper! Behold — 
still! — the old noon sleeps, his mouth moves: is he not 
just now drinking a drop of happiness, an old brown 
drop of golden happiness, golden wine? It slips over 
him, his happiness laughs. Thus laughs a god. Still! 

"O happiness, how little is sufficient for happiness!" 
Thus I spoke once and seemed clever to myself. But 
it was a blasphemy: that I have learned now. Clever 
fools speak better. Precisely the least, the softest, 
lightest, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a breeze, a mo- 
ment's glance — it is little that makes the best happiness. 

What happened to me? Listen! Did time perhaps fly 
away? Do I not fall? Did I not fall — listen! — into the 
well of eternity? What is happening to me? Still! I 
have been stung, alas — in the heart? In the heart! Oh 
break, break, heart, after such happiness, after such a 
sting. How? Did not the world become perfect just 
now? Round and ripe? Oh, the golden round ring — 
where may it fly? Shall I run after it? Quick! Still! (And 
here Zarathustra stretched and felt that he was asleep.) 

"Up!" he said to himself; "you sleeper! You noon 
napperl Well, get up, old legs! It is time and overtime; 
many a good stretch of road still lies ahead of you. Now 
you have slept out — how long? Half an eternity! Well! 
Up with you now, my old heart! After such a sleep, how 
long will it take you to — wake it off?" (But then he 


fell asleep again, and his soul spoke against him and 
resisted and lay down again.) "Leave me alone! Still! 
Did not the world become perfect just now? Oh, the 
golden round ball!" 

"Get up!" said Zarathustra, "you little thief, you 
lazy little thief of time! What? Still stretching, yawning, 
sighing, falling into deep wells? Who are you? O my 
soul!" (At this point he was startled, for a sunbeam fell 
from the sky onto his face.) "O heaven over mel" he 
said, sighing, and sat up. "You are looking on? You are 
listening to my strange soul? When will you drink this 
drop of dew which has fallen upon all earthly things? 
When will you drink this strange soul? When, well of 
eternity? Cheerful, dreadful abyss of noonl When will 
you drink my soul back into yourself?" 

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and he got up from his 
resting place at the tree as from a strange drunkenness; 
and behold, the sun still stood straight over his head. 
But from this one might justly conclude that Zara- 
thustra had not slept long. 


It was only late in the afternoon that Zarathustra, 
after much vain searching and roaming, returned to 
his cave again. But when he was opposite it, not twenty 
paces away, that which he now least expected came 
about: again he heard the great cry of distress. And — 
amazing! — this time it came from his own cave. But 
it was a long-drawn-out, manifold, strange cry, and 
Zarathustra could clearly discern that it was composed 
of many voices, though if heard from a distance it might 
sound like a cry from a single mouth. 

Then Zarathustra leaped toward his cave, and be- 
hold, what a sight awaited him after this sound! For 


all the men whom he had passed by during the day 
were sitting there together: the king at the right and 
the king at the left, the old magician, the pope, the 
voluntary beggar, the shadow, the conscientious in spirit, 
the sad soothsayer, and the ass; and the ugliest man had 
put on a crown and adorned himself with two crimson 
belts, for like all who are ugly he loved to disguise 
himself and pretend that he was beautiful. But in the 
middle of this melancholy party stood Zarathustra's 
eagle, bristling and restless, for he had been asked too 
many questions for which his pride had no answer; 
and the wise serpent hung around his neck. 

Zarathustra beheld all this with great amazement; 
then he examined every one of his guests with friendly 
curiosity, read their souls, and was amazed again. 
Meanwhile all those gathered had risen from their 
seats and were waiting respectfully for Zarathustra 
to speak. But Zarathustra spoke thus: 

"You who despair! You who are strange! So it was 
your cry of distress that I heard? And now I also know 
where to find him whom I sought in vain today: the 
higher man. He sits in my own cave, the higher man. 
But why should I be amazed? Have I not lured him to 
myself with honey sacrifices and the cunning siren calls 
of my happiness? 

"Yet it seems to me that you are poor company; you 
who utter cries of distress upset each other's hearts as 
you sit here together. First someone must come — some- 
one to make you laugh again, a good gay clown, a 
dancer and wind and wildcat, some old fool. What do 
you think? 

"Forgive me, you who despair, that I speak to you 
with such little words, unworthy, verily, of such guests. 
But you do not guess wliat makes me so prankish: it is 
you yourselves who do it, and the sight of you; forgive 


me! For everyone becomes brave when he observes one 
who despairs. To encourage one who despairs — for 
that everyone feels strong enough. Even to me you gave 
this strength: a good gift, my honored guests! A proper 
present to ensure hospitality! Well then, do not be 
angry if I also offer you something of what is mine. 

"This is my realm and my dominion; but whatever is 
mine shall be yours for this evening and this night. My 
animals shall serve you, my cave shall be your place 
of rest. In my home and house nobody shall despair; in 
my region I protect everybody from his wild animals. 
And this is the first thing I offer you: security. The 
second thing, however, is my little finger. And once 
you have that, by all means take the whole hand; well, 
and my heart tool Be welcome here, welcome, my 

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and he laughed from love 
and malice. After this welcome his guests bowed again 
and were respectfully silent; but the king at the right 
iand answered him in their name: "From the manner, 
O Zarathustra, in which you offered us hand and wel- 
come, we recognize you as Zarathustra. You humbled 
yourself before us; you almost wounded our reverence. 
But who would know as you do, how to humble himself 
with such pride? That in itself uplifts us; it is refresh- 
ing for our eyes and hearts. Merely to see this one thing, 
we would gladly climb mountains higher than this one. 
For we came, eager to see; we wanted to behold what 
makes dim eyes bright. And behold, even now we are 
done with all our cries of distress. Even now our minds 
and hearts are opened up and delighted. Little is lack- 
ing, and our spirits will become sportive. 

"Nothing more delightful grows on earth, O Zara- 
thustra, than a lofty, strong will: that is the earth's most 
beautiful plant. A whole landscape is refreshed by one 

such tree. Whoever grows up high like you, O Zara- 
thustra, I compare to the pine: long, silent, hard, alone, 
of the best and most resilient wood, magnificent — and 
in the end reaching out with strong green branches for 
his own dominion, questioning wind and weather and 
whatever else is at home on the heights with forceful 
questions, and answering yet more forcefully, a com- 
mander, triumphant: oh, who would not climb high 
mountains to see such plants? Your tree here, O Zara- 
thustra, refreshes even the gloomy ones, the failures; 
your sight reassures and heals the heart even of the 
restless. And verily, toward your mountain and tree 
many eyes are directed today; a great longing has arisen, 
and many have learned to ask, 'Who is Zarathustra?' 

"And those into whose ears you have once dripped 
your song and your honey, all the hidden, the lonesome, 
the twosome, have all at once said to their hearts, 'Does 
Zarathustra still live? Life is no longer worth while, all 
is the same, all is in vain, or — we must live with Zara- 

" 'Why does he not come who has so long announced 
himself?' ask many. 'Has solitude swallowed hirn up? Or 
are we perhaps supposed to come to him?' 

"Now it happens that solitude itself grows weary 
and breaks, like a tomb that breaks and can no longer 
hold its dead. Everywhere one sees the resurrected. 
Now the waves are climbing and climbing around your 
mountain, O Zarathustra. And however high your height 
may be, many must come up to you: your bark shall not 
be stranded much longer. And that we who were de- 
spairing have now come to your cave and no longer 
despair — that is but a sign and symbol that those better 
than we are on their way to you; for this is what is on 
its way to you: the last remnant of God among men — 
that is, all the men of great longing, of great nausea, 


of great disgust, all who do not want to live unless they 
leam to hope again, unless they leam from you, O Zara- 
thustra, the great hope." 

Thus spoke the king at the right, and he seized Zara- 
thustra's hand to kiss it; but Zarathustra resisted his 
veneration and stepped back, startled, silent, and as if 
he were suddenly fleeing into remote distances. But 
after a little while he was back with his guests again, 
looking at them with bright, examining eyes, and he 
said: "My guests, you higher men, let me speak to you 
in plain and clear German. It was not for you that I 
waited in these mountains." 

("Plain and clear German? Good God!" the king at 
the left said at this point, in an aside. "One can see that 
he does not know our dear Germans, this wise man from 
the East! But what he means is "coarse German'; well, 
these days that is not the worst of tastes.") 

"You may indeed all be higher men," continued Zara- 
thustra, "but for me you are not high and strong enough. 
For me — that means, for the inexorable in me that is 
silent but will not always remain silent. And if you 
do belong to me, it is not as my right arm. For whoever 
stands on sick and weak legs himself, as you do, wants 
consideration above all, whether he knows it or hides 
it from himself. To my arms and my legs, however, I 
show no consideration; I show my warriors no considera- 
tion: how then could you be fit for my war? With you I 
should spoil my every victory. And some among you 
would collapse as soon as they heard the loud roll of 
my drums. 

"Nor are you beautiful and wellborn enough for me. 
I need clean, smooth mirrors for my doctrines; on your 
surface even my own image is distorted. Many a burden, 
many a reminiscence press on your shoulders; many a 
wicked dwarf crouches in your nooks. There is hidden 

mob in you too. And even though you may be high and 
of a higher kind, much in you is crooked and misshapen. 
There is no smith in the world who could hammer you 
right and straight for me. 

"You are mere bridges: may men higher than you 
stride over you. You signify steps: therefore do not be 
angry with him who climbs over you to his height. A 
genuine son and perfect heir may yet grow from your 
seed, even for me: but that is distant. You yourselves 
are not those to whom my heritage and name belong. 

"It is not for you that I wait in these mountains; it is 
not with you that I am to go down for the last time. 
Only as signs have you come to me, that those higher 
than you are even now on their way to me: not the men 
of great longing, of great nausea, of great disgust, and 
that which you called the remnant of God; no, no, 
three times no! It is for others that I wait here in these 
mountains, and I will not lift my feet from here without 
them; it is for those who are higher, stronger, more 
triumphant, and more cheerful, such as are built perpen- 
dicular in body and soul: laughing lions must cornel 

"O my strange guests! Have you not yet heard any- 
thing of my children? And that they are on their way to 
me? Speak to me of my gardens, of my blessed isles, of 
my new beauty — why do you not speak to me of that? 
This present I beseech from your love, that you speak 
to me of my children. For this I am rich, for this I grew 
poor; what did I not give, what would I not give to 
have one thing: these children, this living plantation, 
these life-trees of my will and my highest hope!" 

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and suddenly he stopped in 
his speech, for a longing came over him, and he closed 
his eyes and mouth as his heart was moved. And all his 
guests too fell silent and stood still in dismay; only the 
old soothsayer made signs and gestures with his hands. 



For it was at this point that the soothsayer interrupted 
the welcome, pushed forward like one who has no time 
to lose, seized Zarathustra's hand, and shouted: "But 
Zarathustral One thing is more necessary than another: 
thus you say yourself. Well then, one thing is more 
necessary to me now than anything else. A word at 
the right time: did you not invite me to supper? And 
here are many who have come a long way. Surely, you 
would not feed us speeches alone? Also, all of you have 
thought far too much, for my taste, of freezing, drown- 
ing, suffocating, and other physical distress; but nobody 
has thought of my distress, namely, starving — " 

(Thus spoke the soothsayer; but when Zarathustra's 
animals heard these words they ran away in fright. For 
they saw that whatever they had brought home during 
the day would not be enough to fill this one sooth- 

"Including dying of thirst," continued the soothsayer. 
"And although I hear water splashing nearby like 
speeches of wisdom — that is, abundantly and tirelessly 
— I want wine. Not everybody is a bom water drinker 
like Zarathustra. Nor is water fit for the weary and 
wilted: we deserve wine. That alone gives sudden con- 
valescence and immediate health." 

On this occasion, as the soothsayer asked for wine, it 
happened that the king at the left, the taciturn one, got 
a word in too, for once. "For wine," he said, "we have 
taken care — I together with my brother, the king at 
the right; we have wine enough — a whole ass-load. So 
nothing is lacking but bread." 

"Bread?" countered Zarathustra, and he laughed. 
"Bread is the one thing hermits do not have. But man 


does not live by bread alone, but also of the meat of 
good lambs, of which I have two. These should be 
slaughtered quickly and prepared tastily with sage: I 
love it that way. Nor is there a lack of roots and fruit, 
good enough even for gourmets and gourmands, nor of 
nuts and other riddles to be cracked. Thus we shall 
have a good meal in a short while. But whoever would 
join in the eating must also help in the preparation, 
even the kings. For at Zarathustra's even a king may be 

This suggestion appealed to the hearts of all; only 
the voluntary beggar objected to meat and wine and 
spices. "Now listen to this glutton Zarathustra!" he said 
jokingly; "is that why one goes into caves and high 
mountain ranges, to prepare such meals? Now indeed 
I understand what he once taught us: 'Praised be a 
little poverty!' And why he wants to abolish beggars." 

"Be of good cheer," Zarathustra answered him, "as 
I am. Stick to your custom, my excellent friend, crush 
your grains, drink your water, praise your fare; as long 
as it makes you gay! 

"I am a law only for my kind, I am no law for all. 
But whoever belongs with me must have strong bones 
and light feet, be eager for war and festivals, not 
gloomy, no dreamer, as ready for what is most difficult 
as for his festival, healthy and wholesome. The best 
belongs to my kind and to me; and when one does not 
give it to us, we take it: the best food, the purest sky, 
the strongest thoughts, the most beautiful women." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra; but the king at the right 
retorted: "Strange! Has one ever heard such clever 
things out of the mouth of a sage? And verily, he is 
the strangest sage who is also clever and no ass." 

Thus spoke the king at the right, and he was amazed; 
but the ass commented on his speech with evil intent: 


Yeah-Yuh. But this was the beginning of that long- 
drawn-out meal which the chronicles call "the last sup- 
per." And in the course of it, nothing else was discussed 
but the higher man. 


The first time I came to men I committed the folly 
of hermits, the great folly: I stood in the market place. 
And as I spoke to all, I spoke to none. But in the 
evening, tightrope walkers and corpses were my com- 
panions; and I myself was almost a corpse. But with 
the new moming a new truth came to me: I learned 
to say, "Of what concern to me are market and mob and 
mob noise and long mob ears?" 

You higher men, learn this from me: in the market 
place nobody believes in higher men. And if you want 
to speak there, very well! But the mob blinks: "We are 
all equal." 

"You higher men" — thus blinks the mob — "there are 
no higher men, we are all equal, man is man; before 
God we are all equal." 

Before Godl But now this god has died. And before 
the mob we do not want to be equal. You higher men, 
go away from the market place! 


Before God! But now this god has died. You higher 
men, this god was your greatest danger. It is only since 
he lies in his tomb that you have been resurrected. 
Only now the great noon comes; only now the higher 
man becomes — lord. 

Have you understood this word, O my brothers? You 
are startled? Do your hearts become giddy? Does the 


abyss yawn before you? Does the hellhound howl at 
you? Well then, you higher men! Only now is the moun- 
tain of man's future in labor. God died: now we want 
the overman to live. 


The most concerned ask today: "How is man to be 
preserved?" But Zarathustra is the first and only one to 
ask: "How is man to be overcome?" 

I have the overman at heart, that is my first and only 
concern — and not man: not the neighbor, not the poor- 
est, not the most ailing, not the best. 

O my brothers, what I can love in man is that he is 
an overture and a going under. And in you too there 
is much that lets me love and hope. That you despise, 
you higher men, that lets me hope. For the great 
despisers are the great reverers. That you have de- 
spaired, in that there is much to revere. For you did not 
learn how to surrender, you did not learn petty pru- 
dences. For today the little people lord it: they all 
preach surrender and resignation and prudence and 
industry and consideration and the long etcetera of the 
small virtues. 

What is womanish, what derives from the servile, and 
especially the mob hodgepodge: that would now become 
master of all human destiny. O nausea! Nausea! Nausea! 
That asks and asks and never grows weary: "How is 
man to be preserved best, longest, most agreeably?" 
With that — they are the masters of today. 

Overcome these masters of today, O my brothers — 
these small people, they are the overman's greatest 

You higher men, overcome the small virtues, the small 
prudences, the grain-of-sand consideration, the ants' riff- 
raff, the wretched contentment, the "happiness of the 


greatest number"l And rather despair than surrender. 
And verily, I love you for not knowing how to live 
today, you higher menl For thus you live best. 


Do you have courage, O my brothers? Are you brave? 
Not courage before witnesses but the courage of hermits 
and eagles, which is no longer watched even by a god. 

Cold souls, mules, the blind, and the drunken I do 
not call brave. Brave is he who knows fear but conquers 
fear, who sees the abyss, but with pride. 

Who sees the abyss but with the eyes of an eagle; 
who grasps the abyss with the talons of an eagle — that 
man has courage. 


"Man is evil" — thus said all the wisest to comfort me. 
Alas, if only it were still true todayl For evil is man's 
best strength. 

"Man must become better and more evil" — thus I 
teach. The greatest evil is necessary for the overman's 
best. It may have been good for that preacher of the 
little people that he suffered and tried to bear man's 
sin. But I rejoice over great sin as my great consolation. 

But this is not said for long ears. Not every word 
belongs in every mouth. These are delicate distant 
matters: they should not be reached for by sheeps' hoofs. 


You higher men, do you suppose I have come to set 
right what you have set wrong? Or that I have come to 
you that suffer to bed you more comfortably? Or to 
you that are restless, have gone astray or climbed 
astray, to show you new and easier paths? 

Nol Nol Three times nol Ever more, ever better ones 

of your kind shall perish — for it shall be ever worse 
and harder for you. Thus alone — thus alone, man grows 
to the height where lightning strikes and breaks him: 
lofty enough for lightning. 

My mind and my longing are directed toward the 
few, the long, the distant; what are your many small 
short miseries to me? You do not yet suffer enough to 
suit mel For you suffer from yourselves, you have not 
yet suffered from man. You would lie if you claimed 
otherwise! You all do not suffer from what I have 


It is not enough for me that lightning no longer does 
any harm. I do not wish to conduct it away: it shall 
leam to work for me. 

My wisdom has long gathered like a cloud; it is 
becoming stiller and darker. Thus does every wisdom 
that is yet to give birth to lightning bolts. 

For these men of today I do not wish to be light, or 
to be called light. These I wish to blind. Lightning of 
my wisdom! put out their eyes! 


Will nothing beyond your capacity: there is a wicked 
falseness among those who will beyond their capacity. 
Especially if they will great things! For they arouse 
mistrust against great things, these subtle counterfeiters 
and actors — until finally they are false before them- 
selves, squinters, whited worm-eaten decay, cloaked 
with strong words, with display-virtues, with splendid 
false deeds. 

Take good care there, you higher men! For nothing 
today is more precious to me and rarer than honesty. 
Is this today not the mob's? But the mob does not 


know what is great, what is small, what is straight and 

honest: it is innocently crooked, it always lies. 


Have a good mistrust today, you higher men, you 
stouthearted ones, you openhearted onesl And keep 
your reasons secretl For this today is the mob's. 

What the mob once learned to believe without reasons 
— who could overthrow that with reasons? 

And in the market place one convinces with gestures. 
But reasons make the mob mistrustful. 

And if truth was victorious for once, then ask yourself 
with good mistrust: "What strong error fought for it?" 

Beware of the scholars! They hate you, for they are 
sterile. They have cold, dried-up eyes; before them 
every bird lies unplumed. 

Such men boast that they do not lie: but the inability 
to lie is far from the love of truth. Bewarel 

Freedom from fever is not yet knowledge by any 
means! I do not believe chilled spirits. Whoever is 
unable to lie does not know what truth is. 


If you would go high, use your own legs. Do not let 
yourselves be carried up; do not sit on the backs and 
heads of others. But you mounted a horse? You are now 
riding quickly up to your goal? All right, my friendl 
But your lame foot is sitting on the horse too. When you 
reach your goal, when you jump off your horse — on 
your very height, you higher man, you will stumble. 


You creators, you higher menl One is pregnant only 
with one's own child. Do not let yourselves be gulled 
and beguiled! Who, after all, is your neighbor? And 

even if you act "for the neighbor" — you still do not 
create for him. 

Unlearn this "for," you creators! Your very virtue 
wants that you do nothing "for" and "in order" and 
"because." You shall plug up your ears against these 
false little words. "For the neighbor" is only the virtue 
of the little people: there one says "birds of a feather" 
and "one hand washes the other." They have neither 
the right nor the strength lor your egoism. In your ego- 
ism, you creators, is the caution and providence of the 
pregnant. What no one has yet laid eyes on, the fruit: 
that your whole love shelters and saves and nourishes. 
Where your whole love is, with your child, there is 
also your whole virtue. Your work, your will, that is 
your "neighbor": do not let yourselves be gulled with 
false valuesF 


You creators, you higher men! Whoever has to give 
birth is sick; but whoever has given birth is unclean. 
Ask women: one does not give birth because it is 
fun. Pain makes hens and poets cackle. 

You creators, there is much that is unclean in you. 
That is because you had to be mothers. 

V new child: oh, how much new filth has also come 
into the world! Go aside! And whoever has given birth 
should wash his soul clean. 


Do not be virtuous beyond your strength! And do 
not desire anything of yourselves against probability. 

Walk in the footprints where your fathers' virtue 
walked before you. How would you climb high if your 
fathers' will does not climb with you? 

But whoever would be a firstling should beware lest 


he also become a lastling. And wherever the vices of 
your fathers are, there you should not want to represent 
saints. If your fathers consorted with women, strong 
wines, and wild boars, what would it be if you wanted 
chastity of yourself? It would be folly! Verily, it seems 
much to me if such a man is the husband of one or two 
or three women. And if he founded monasteries and 
wrote over the door, "The way to sainthood," I should 
yet say, What for? It is another folly. He founded a 
reformatory and refuge for himself: may it do him 
goodl But I do not believe in it. 

In solitude, whatever one has brought into it grows — 
also the inner beast. Therefore solitude is inadvisable for 
many. Has there been anything filthier on earth so far 
than desert saints? Around them not only was the devil 
loose, but also the swine. 


Shy, ashamed, awkward, like a tiger whose leap has 
failed: thus I have often seen you slink aside, you 
higher men. A throw had failed you. But, you dice- 
throwers, what does it matter? You have not learned to 
gamble and jest as one must gamble and jest. Do we 
not always sit at a big jesting-and-gaming table? And if 
something great has failed you, does it follow that you 
yourselves are failures? And if you yourselves are fail- 
ures, does it follow that man is a failure? But if man is 
a failure — well then! 


The higher its type, the more rarely a thing succeeds. 
You higher men here, have you not all failed? 

Be of good cheer, what does it matter? How much is 
still possible! Leam to laugh at yourselves as one must 

Is it any wonder that you failed and only half 
succeeded, being half broken? Is not something throng- 
ing and pushing in you — man's future? Man's greatest 
distance and depth and what in him is lofty to the stars, 
his tremendous strength — are not all these frothing 
against each other in your pot? Is it any wonder that 
many a pot breaks? Learn to laugh at yourselves as 
one must laugh! You higher men, how much is still 

And verily, how much has already succeeded! How 
rich is the earth in little good perfect things, in what 
has turned out well! 

Place little good perfect things around you, O higher 
men! Their golden ripeness heals the heart. What is 
perfect teaches hope. 


What has so far been the greatest sin here on earth? 
Was it not the word of him who said, "Woe unto those 
who laugh here"? Did he himself find no reasons on 
earth for laughing? Then he searched very badly. Even 
a child could find reasons here. He did not love enough: 
else he would also have loved us who laugh. But he 
hated and mocked us: howling and gnashing of teeth 
he promised us. 

Does one have to curse right away, where one does 
not love? That seems bad taste to me. But thus he acted, 
being unconditional. He came from the mob. And he 
himself simply did not love enough: else he would not 
have been so wroth that one did not love him. All great 
love does not want love: it wants more. 

Avoid all such unconditional people! They are a poor 
sick sort, a sort of mob: they look sourly at this life, 
they have the evil eye for this earth. Avoid all such 
unconditional people! They have heavy feet and sultry 


hearts: they do not know how to dance. How should 

the earth be light for them? 


All good things approach their goal crookedly. Like 
cats, they arch their backs, they purr inwardly over their 
approaching happiness: all good things laugh. 

A man's stride betrays whether he has found his 
own way: behold me walking! But whoever approaches 
his goal dances. And verily, I have not become a statue: 
I do not yet stand there, stiff, stupid, stony, a column; 
I love to run swiftly. And though there are swamps and 
thick melancholy on earth, whoever has light feet runs 
even over mud and dances as on swept ice. 

Lift up your hearts, my brothers, high, higher! And 
do not forget your legs either. Lift up your legs too, 
you good dancers; and better yet, stand on your heads! 


This crown of him who laughs, this rose-wreath 
crown: I myself have put on this crown, I myself have 
pronounced my laughter holy. Nobody else have I 
found strong enough for this today. 

Zarathustra the dancer, Zarathustra the light, waves 
with his wings, ready for flight, waving at all birds, 
ready and heady, happily lightheaded; Zarathustra the 
soothsayer, Zarathustra the sooth-laugher, not impatient, 
not unconditional, one who loves leaps and side-leaps: 
I myself have put on this crown! 


Lift up your hearts, my brothers, high, higher! And 
do not forget your legs either. Lift up your legs too, 
you good dancers; and better yet, stand on your heads! 

In happiness too there are heavy animals; there are 

pondrous-pedes through and through. Curiously they 
labor, like an elephant laboring to stand on its head. 
But it is still better to be foolish from happiness than 
foolish from unhappiness; better to dance ponderously 
than to walk lamely. That you would leam my wisdom 
from me: even the worst thing has two good reverse 
sides — even the worst thing has good dancing legs; that 
you would learn, you higher men, to put yourselves on 
your right legs! That you would unlearn nursing melan- 
choly and all mob-sadness! Oh, how sad even the mob's 
clowns seem to me today! But this today is the mob's. 


Be like the wind rushing out of his mountain caves: 
he wishes to dance to his own pipe; the seas tremble 
and leap under his feet. 

What gives asses wings, what milks lionesses — 
praised be this good intractable spirit that comes like 
a cyclone to all today and to all the mob. What is 
averse to thistle-heads and casuists' heads and to all 
wilted leaves and weeds — praised be this wild, good, 
free storm spirit that dances on swamps and on melan- 
choly as on meadows. What hates the mob's blether- 
cocks and all the bungled gloomy brood — praised 
be this spirit of all free spirits, the laughing gale that 
blows dust into the eyes of all the black-sighted, sore- 

vou higher men, the worst about you is that all of 
you have not learned to dance as one must dance — danc- 
ing away over yourselves! What does it matter that you 
are failures? How much is still possible! So learn to 
laugh away over yourselvesl Lift up your hearts, you 
good dancers, high, higher! And do not forget good 
laughter. This crown of him who laughs, this rose-wreath 
crown: to you, my brothers, I throw this crown. Laugh- 


ter I have pronounced holy; you higher men, learn to 



While Zarathustra delivered these discourses he stood 
near the entrance of his cave; but with the last words 
he slipped away from his guests and fled into the open 
for a short while. 

"O pure smells about me!" he cried out. "O happy 
silence about me! But where are my animals? Come 
here, come here, my eagle and my serpent! Tell me, 
my animals: these higher men, all of them — do they 
perhaps smell bad? O pure smells about me! Only now 
I know and feel how much I love you, my animals." 

And Zarathustra spoke once more: "I love you, my 
animals." But the eagle and the serpent pressed close to 
him as he spoke these words, and looked up to him. In 
this way the three of them were together silently, and 
they sniffed and sipped the good air together. For the 
air out here was better than among the higher men. 


But Zarathustra had scarcely left his cave when the 
old magician got up, looked around cunningly, and said: 
"He has gone out! And immediately, you higher men — 
if I may tickle you with this laudatory, flattering name, 
as he did — immediately my wicked spirit of deception 
and magic seizes me, my melancholy devil, who is 
through and through an adversary of this Zarathustra — 
forgive him! Now he wants to show you his magic; he 
has his hour right now; in vain do I wrestle with this 
evil spirit. Of all of you, whatever honors you may 
confer on yourselves with words, whether you call your- 
selves 'free spirits' or 'truthful' or 'ascetics of the spirit' 

or 'the unbound' or 'the great longers' — of all of you 
who, like me, are suffering of the great nausea, for whom 
the old god has died and for whom no new god lies 
as yet in cradles and swaddling clothes — of all of you 
my evil spirit and magic devil is fond. 

"I know you, you higher men; I know him; I also 
know this monster whom I love against my will, this 
Zarathustra: he himself sometimes seems to me like a 
beautiful mask of a saint, like a new strange masquerade 
in which my evil spirt, the melancholy devil, enjoys 
himself. I love Zarathustra, it often seems to me, for 
the sake of my evil spirit. 

"But even now he attacks me and forces me, this 
spirit of melancholy, this devil of the dusk; and verily, 
you higher men, he has the desire — you may well open 
your eyes wide! — he has the desire to come naked; 
whether male or female I do not know yet — but he is 
coming, he is forcing me; alas, open up your senses! The 
day is fading away, evening is now coming to all things, 
even to the best things: hear then and see, you higher 
men, what kind of devil, whether man or woman, this 
spirit of evening melancholy is!" 

Thus spoke the old magician, looked around cun- 
ningly, and then reached for his harp. 


In dim, de-lighted air 

When the dew's comfort is beginning 

To well down to the earth, 

Unseen, unheard — 

For tender is the footwear of 

The comforter dew, as of all that gently comfort — 
Do you remember then, remember, hot heart, 
How you thirsted once 
For heavenly tears and dripping dew, 


Thirsting, scorched and weary, 
While on yellow paths in the grass 
The glances of the evening sun were running 
Maliciously around you through black trees — 
Blinding, glowing glances of the sun, mocking your 

"Suitor of truth?" they mocked me; "you? 
Nol Only poet! 

An animal, cunning, preying, prowling, 
That must lie, 

That must knowingly, willingly lie: 

Lusting for prey, 

Colorfully masked, 

A mask for itself, 

Prey for itself — 

This, the suitor of truth? 

Nol Only fooll Only poet! 

Only speaking colorfully, 

Only screaming colorfully out of fools' masks, 

Climbing around on mendacious word bridges, 

On colorful rainbows, 

Between false heavens 

And false earths, 

Roaming, hovering — 

Only fooll Only poet! 

This — the suitor of truth? 

Not still, stiff, smooth, cold, 

Become a statue, 

A pillar of God, 

Not placed before temples, 

A god's gate guard — 

No! an enemy of all such truth statues, 

More at home in any desert than before temples, 


Full of cats' prankishness, 
Leaping through every window — 
Swish! into every chance, 
Sniffing for every jungle, 
Eagerly, longingly sniffing: 
That in jungles 

Among colorfully speckled beasts of prey 

You might roam, sinfully sound and colorful, beautiful 

With lusting lips, 

Blissfully mocking, blissfully hellish, blissfully blood- 
thirsty — 
Preying, prowling, peering — 

Or like the eagle that gazes long, 

Long with fixed eyes into abysses, 

His own abysses — 

Oh, how they wind downward, 

Lower and lower 

And into ever deeper depths! — 


Suddenly, straight as sight 
In brandished flight, 
Pounce on lambs, 
Abruptly down, hot-hungry, 
Lusting for lambs, 
Hating all lamb souls, 
Grimly hating whatever looks 
Sheepish, lamb-eyed, curly-wooled, 
Gray, with lambs' and sheeps' goodwill. 


Eagle-like, panther-like, 

Are the poet's longings, 

Are your longings under a thousand masks, 

You fool! You poet! 


You that have seen man 

As god and sheep: 

Tearing to pieces the god in man 

No less than the sheep in man, 

And laughing while tearing — 

This, this is your bliss! 

A panther's and eagle's bliss! 

A poet's and fool's bliss!" 

In dim, de-lighted air 

When the moon's sickle is beginning 

To creep, green between crimson 

Reds, enviously — 

Hating the day, 

Secretly step for step 

Scything at sloping rose meads 

Till they sink and, ashen, 

Drown in night — 

Thus I myself once sank 

Out of my truth-madness, 

Out of my day-longings, 

Weary of day, sick from the light — 

Sank downward, eveningward, shadowward, 

Burned by one truth, 

And thirsty: 

Do you remember still, remember, hot heart, 

How you thirsted? 

That I be banished 

From all truth, 

Only fool! 

Only poetl 



Thus sang the magician; and all who were gathered 
there went unwittingly as birds into the net of his cun- 
ning and melancholy lust. Only the conscientious in 
spirit was not caught: quickly he took the harp away 
from the magician and cried: "Air! Let in good air! Let 
in Zarathustra! You are making this cave sultry and 
poisonous, you wicked old magician. You are seducing 
us, you false and subtle one, to unknown desires and 
wildernesses. And beware when such as you start mak- 
ing speeches and fuss about truth! Woe unto all free 
spirits who do not watch out against such magicians! 
Then it is over with their freedom: you teach us and lure 
us back into prisons. You old melancholy devil: out of 
your lament a bird call lures us; you are like those 
whose praise of chastity secretly invites to voluptuous 

Thus spoke the conscientious man; but the old magi- 
cian looked around, enjoyed his triumph, and for its sake 
swallowed the annoyance caused him by the conscien- 
tious man. "Be still!" he said in a modest voice; "good 
songs want to resound well; after good songs one should 
long keep still. Thus do all these higher men. But per- 
haps you have understood very little of my song? In 
you there is little of a magic spirit." 

"You praise me by distinguishing me from yourself," 
retorted the conscientious man. "Well then! But you 
others, what do I see? You are all still sitting there with 
lusting eyes: you free souls, where is your freedom gone? 
You are almost like men, it seems to me, who have long 
watched wicked, dancing, naked girls: your souls are 
dancing too. In you, you higher men, there must be 


more of what the magician calls his evil spirit of magic 

and deception: we must be different. 

"And verily, we talked and thought together enough 
before Zarathustra returned home to his cave for me to 
know that we are different. We also seek different things 
up here, you and I. For I seek more security, that is why 
I came to Zarathustra. For he is the firmest tower and 
will today, when everything is tottering and all the earth 
is quaking. But you — when I see the eyes you make, it 
almost seems to me that you are seeking more insecu- 
rity: more thrills, more danger, more earthquakes. You 
desire, I should almost presume — forgive my presump- 
tion, you higher men — you desire the most wicked, most 
dangerous life, of which 7 am most afraid: the life of 
wild animals, woods, caves, steep mountains, and laby- 
rinthian gorges. And it is not the leaders out of danger 
who appeal to you most, but those who induce you to 
leave all ways, the seducers. But even if such desire in 
you is real, it still seems impossible to me. 

"For fear is the original and basic feeling of man; 
from fear everything is explicable, original sin and orig- 
inal virtue. From fear my own virture too has grown, 
and it is called: science. For the fear of wild animals, 
that was bred in man longest of all — including the ani- 
mal he harbors inside himself and fears: Zarathustra 
calls it 'the inner beast.' Such long old fear, finally re- 
fined, spiritualized, spiritual — today, it seems to me, this 
is called science." 

Thus spoke the conscientious man; but Zarathustra, 
who was just coming back into his cave and had heard 
and guessed this last speech, threw a handful of roses 
at the conscientious man and laughed at his "truths." 
"What?" he cried. "What did I hear just now? Verily, it 
seems to me that you are a fool, or that I am one my- 

self; and your 'truth' I simply reverse. For fear — that 
is our exception. But courage and adventure and pleas- 
ure in the uncertain, in the undared — courage seems to 
me man's whole prehistory. He envied the wildest, most 
courageous animals and robbed all their virtues: only 
thus did he become man. This courage, finally refined, 
spiritualized, spiritual, this human courage with eagles' 
wings and serpents' wisdom — that, it seems to me, is to- 
day called — " 

"Zarathustra!" all who were sitting together cried as 
with one mouth, and they raised a great laughter that 
rose above them like a heavy cloud. The magician too 
laughed and said cleverly: "Well then, he is gone, my 
evil spirit. And have I myself not warned you of him 
when I said that he was a deceiver, a spirit of lies and 
deceptions? Especially when he appears naked. But am 
I responsible for his wiles? Did I create him and the 
world? Well then, let us make up again and make merryl 
And although Zarathustra looks angry — look at him, he 
bears me a grudge — before night falls he will learn again 
to love me and laud me; he cannot live long without 
committing such follies. He loves his enemies; this art 
he understands best of all whom I have ever seen. But 
he takes revenge for this on his friends." 

Thus spoke the old magician, and the higher men 
applauded him; so Zarathustra walked around and shook 
his friends' hands with malice and love — like one who 
has to make up for something and apologize. But when 
he reached the door of his cave, behold, he again felt 
a desire for the good air outside and for his animals — 
and he wanted to slip out. 



"Do not go awayl" said the wanderer who called 
himself Zarathustra's shadow. "Stay with us. Else our 
old musty depression might seize us again. Even now 
that old magician has given us a sample of his worst; 
and behold, that good pious pope there has tears in his 
eyes and has again embarked on the sea of melancholy. 
These kings may still put up a bold front, for of all of 
us here today they have learned this best. But if they 
had no witness, I wager that for them too the evil rou- 
tine would resume — the evil routine of drifting clouds, 
of moist melancholy, of overcast skies, of stolen suns, of 
howling autumn winds — the evil routine of our own 
howling and cries of distress. Stay with us, O Zarathus- 
tra! There is much hidden misery here that desires to 
speak, much evening, much cloud, much musty air. You 
have nourished us with strong virile food and forceful 
maxims: do not let the feeble feminine spirits seize us 
again after dinner! You alone make the air around you 
strong and clear. Have I ever found such good air any- 
where on earth as here in your cave? Many countries 
have I seen; my nose has learned to test and estimate 
many kinds of air: but in your cave my nostrils are 
tasting their greatest pleasure. 

"Unless it were — unless it were — oh, forgive an old 
reminiscence] Forgive me an old afterdinner song that 
I once composed among daughters of the wilderness: 
for near them the air was equally good, bright, and 
oriental; never was I farther away from cloudy, moist, 
melancholy old Europe. In those days I loved such 
Oriental girls and other blue skies over which no clouds 
and thoughts hang. You would not believe how nicely 

they sat there when they were not dancing, deep but 
without thoughts, like little secrets, like beribboned rid- 
dles, like afterdinner nuts — colorful and strange, to be 
sure, but without clouds; riddles that let themselves be 
guessed: for such girls I then thought out an after- 
dinner psalm." 

Thus spoke the wanderer and shadow; and before 
anyone answered him he had already seized the harp 
of the old magician, crossed his legs, and looked around, 
composed and wise. But with his nostrils he drew in 
the air slowly and questioningly, as one tastes the new 
foreign air in a new country. Then he began to sing 
with a kind of roar. 


Wilderness grows: woe unto him that harbors wilder- 

Hahl Solemnl 
Indeed solemnl 
A worthy beginning. 
African solemnity. 
Worthy of a lion 

Or of a moral howling monkey — 

But nothing for you, 

My most charming friends 

At whose feet I, 

As the first 

European under palm trees, 
Am allowed to sit. Selah. 

Wonderful surely! 

There I sit now, 

Near the wilderness and already 

So far from the wilderness again, 


And in no way wild or wanton — 
Merely swallowed 
By this smallest oasis: 
It just opened, yawning, 
Its lovely orifice, 

The most fragrant of all little mouths — 
And I fell in 

And down and through — among you, 
My most charming friends. Selah. 

Hail, hail to that whale 

If he let his guest be that 

Well off! You do understand 

My scholarly allusion? 

Hail to his belly 

If it was as 

Lovely an oasis belly 

As this — which, however, I should certainly doubt; 

After all, I come from Europe 

Which is more doubt-addicted than all 

Elderly married women. 

May God improve itl 


There I sit now, 
In this smallest oasis, 
Just like a date, 

Brown, sweet through, oozing gold, lusting 

For the round mouth of a girl, 

But even more for girlish, 

Ice-cold, snow-white, cutting 

Incisors: for after these 

Pants the heart of all hot dates. Selah. 

Similar, all-too-similar 


To the aforementioned fruit, 
I lie here, sniffed at 
And played about 
By little winged bugs — 
Also by still smaller, 
More foolish, more sinful 
Wishes and notions — 
Enveloped by you, 
Silent and foreboding 

Dudu and Suleika — 

Ensj)hinxed, to crowd many 

Feelings into one word 

(May God forgive me 

This linguistic sin!) — 

I sit here, sniffing the best air, 

Verily, paradise air, 

Bright, light air, golden-striped, 

As good air as ever 

Fell down from the moon — 

Whether by chance 

Or did it happen from prankishness? 

As the old poets relate. 

I, being a doubter, however, should 

Doubt it; after all, I come 

From Europe 

Which is more doubt-addicted than all 
Elderly married women. 
May God improve it! 

Drinking this most beautiful air, 
My nostrils distended like cups, 
Without future, without reminiscences, 
Thus I sit here, O 


My most charming friends, 

And am watching the palm tree 

As, like a dancer, she curves 

And swerves and sways above her hips — 

One does it too, if one watches long. 

Like a dancer who, as it would seem to me, 

Has stood too long, dangerously long 

Always, always only on one little leg. 

She has forgotten, it would seem to me, 

The other leg. 

In vain, at least, 

I looked for the missed 

Twin jewel — 

Namely, the other leg — 

In the holy proximity 

Of her most lovely, most delicate 

Flimsy little fan-, flutter-, and tinsel-skirt. 

Yes, if you would, my beautiful friends, 

Believe me wholly: 

She has lost itl 

It is gonel 

Forever gone! 

The other legl 

What a shame about that lovely other legl 

"Where may it be staying and mourning, forsaken? 

The lonely leg? 

Perhaps afraid of a 

Crim, blond, curly 

Lion monster? Or even now 

Cnawed away, nibbled away — 

Misery, alas! alas! Nibbled away! Selah. 

Oh do not weep, 

Soft heartsl 

Do not weep, you 


Date hearts! Milk bosomsl 
You little licorice 
"Weep no more, 
Pale Dudu! 

Be a man, Suleika! Courage! Couragel 
Or should 

Something invigorating, heart-invigorating 
Be appropriate here? 
An unctuous maxim? 
A solemn exhortation? 

Hah! Come up, dignity! 

Virtuous dignity! European dignity! 

Blow, blow again, 

Bellows of virtue! 


Once more roar, 
Roar morally! 
As a moral lion 

Roar before the daughters of the wilderness! 

For virtuous howling, 

My most charming girls, 

Is more than anything else 

European fervor, European ravenous hunger. 

And there I stand even now 

As a European; 

I cannot do else; God help mel 

Wilderness grows: woe unto him that harbors wilder- 




After the song of the wanderer and shadow, the cave 
all at once became full of noise and laughter; and since 
all of the assembled guests talked at the same time and 
even the ass, thus encouraged, would no longer remain 
silent, Zarathustra was overcome by a slight aversion 
and by scorn for his company, although he enjoyed their 
gaiety. For this seemed to him a sign of convalescence. 
So he slipped out into the open and talked to his 

"Where is their distress now?" he said, and imme- 
diately he felt relief from his own little annoyance. "Up 
here with me, it seems, they have unlearned crying in 
distress. Although unfortunately not yet crying in gen- 
eral." And Zarathustra covered up his ears, for just then 
the Yeah-Yuh of the ass was strangely blended with the 
jubilating noise of these higher men. 

"They are merry," he began again, "and, who knows? 
perhaps at their host's expense. And if they learned to 
laugh from me, it still is not my laughter that they have 
learned. But what does it matter? They are old people, 
convalescing in their own way, laughing in their own 
way; my ears have suffered worse things without be- 
coming grumpy. This day represents a triumph: he is 
even now retreating, he is fleeing, the spirit of gravity, 
my old archenemy. How happily this day wants to end 
after beginning so badly and gravely. And it wants to 
end. Even now evening is approaching: he is riding over 
the sea, this good rider. How the blessed one, returning 
home, sways in his crimson saddle! The sky looks clear, 
the world lies deep: O all you strange visitors, living 
with me is well worth whilel" 


Thus spoke Zarathustra. And again the clamor and 
laughter of the higher men came to him from the cave, 
so he began again: "They are biting, my bait is work- 
ing: from them too their enemy retreats, the spirit of 
gravity. Even now they have learned to laugh at them- 
selves: do I hear right? My virile nourishment, the savor 
and strength of my words, are taking effect; and verily, 
I did not feed them bloating vegetables, but warriors' 
nourishment, conquerors' nourishment: I wakened new 
desires. New hopes throb in their arms and legs; their 
hearts stretch out. They are finding new words, soon 
their spirit will breathe prankishness. Such nourishment, 
to be sure, may not be suitable for children or for 
nostalgic old and young little females. Their entrails are 
persuaded in a different way; I am not their physician 
and teacher. 

"Nausea is retreating from these higher men. Well 
then! That is my triumph. In my realm they feel safe, 
all stupid shame runs away, they unburden themselves. 
They unburden their hearts, good hours come back to 
them, they celebrate and chew the cud: they become 
grateful. This I take to be the best sign: they become 
grateful. Not much longer, and they will think up 
festivals and put up monuments to their old friends. 
They are convalescing!" Thus spoke Zarathustra gaily 
to his heart, and he looked out; but his animals pressed 
close to him and respected his happiness and his 


Suddenly, however, Zarathustra's ears were startled; 
for the cave which had so far been full of noise and 
laughter suddenly became deathly still, while his nose 
perceived a pleasant smoke and incense, as of burning 
pine cones. "What is going on? What are they doing?" 


he asked himself, and he stole to the entrance to watch 
his guests, unnoticed. But, wonder upon wonderl What 
did he have to see with his own eyes? 

"They have all become pious again, they are praying, 
they are mad!" he said, and he was amazed beyond 
measure. And indeed, all these higher men, the two 
kings, the retired pope, the wicked magician, the volun- 
tary beggar, the wanderer and shadow, the old sooth- 
sayer, the conscientious in spirit, and the ugliest man — 
they were all kneeling like children and devout little 
old women and adoring the ass. And just then the ugliest 
man began to gurgle and snort as if something inex- 
pressible wanted to get out of him; but when he really 
found words, behold, it was a pious, strange litany to 
glorify the adored and censed ass. And this litany went 

Amen! And praise and honor and wisdom and thanks 
and glory and strength be to our god, from everlasting 
to everlasting! 

But the ass brayed: Yea-Yuh. 

He carries our burden, he took upon himself the 
form of a servant, he is patient of heart and never says 
No; and whoever loves his God, chastises him. 
But the ass brayed: Yea-Yuh. 

He does not speak, except he always says Yea to the 
world he created: thus he praises his world. It is his 
cleverness that does not speak: thus he is rarely found 
to be wrong. 

But the ass brayed: Yea-Yuh. 
Plain-looking, he walks through the world. Gray is 
the body color in which he shrouds his virtue. If he has 
spirit, he hides it; but everybody believes in his long 

But the ass brayed: Yea-Yuh. 


What hidden wisdom it is that he has long ears and 
only says Yea and never Nol Has he not created the 
world in his own image, namely, as stupid as possible? 
But the ass brayed: Yea-Yuh. 

You walk on straight and crooked paths; it matters 
little to you what seems straight or crooked to us men. 
Beyond good and evil is your kingdom. It is your inno- 
cence not to know what innocence is. 

But the ass brayed: Yea-Yuh. 

Behold how you push none away from you, not the 
beggars nor the kings. Little children you let come unto 
you, and when sinners entice you, you simply say Yea- 

But the ass brayed: Yea-Yuh. 
You love she-asses and fresh figs; you do not despise 
food. A thistle tickles your heart if you happen to be 
hungry. In this lies the wisdom of a god. 

But the ass brayed: Yea-Yuh. 


At this point of the litany Zarathustra could no longer 
control himself and himself shouted Yea-Yuh, even 
louder than the ass, and he jumped right into the middle 
of his guests, who had gone mad. "But what are you 
doing there, children of men?" he cried as he pulled the 
praying men up from the floor. "Alas, if someone other 
than Zarathustra had watched you! Everyone would 
judge that with your new faith you were the worst 
blasphemers or the most foolish of all little old women. 

"And you too, old pope, how do you reconcile this 
with yourself that you adore an ass in this way as a 

"O Zarathustra," replied the pope, "forgive me, but 


in what pertains to God I am even more enlightened 
than you. And that is proper. Better to adore God in 
this form than in no form at all! Think about this maxim, 
my noble friend: you will quickly see that there is 
wisdom in such a maxim. 

"He who sajd, 'God is a spirit,' took the biggest step 
and leap to disbelief that anybody has yet taken on 
earth: such a saying can hardly be redressed on earth. 
My old heart leaps and jumps that there is still some- 
thing on earth to adore. Forgive, O Zarathustra, an old 
pious pope's heart!" 

"And you," Zarathustra said to the wanderer and 
shadow, "you call and consider yourself a free spirit? 
And you go in for such idolatry and popery? You are 
behaving even more wickedly, verily, than with your 
wicked brown girls, you wicked new believer." 

"Wickedly enough," replied the wanderer and 
shadow; "you are right: but is it my fault? The old god 
lives again, Zarathustra, you may say what you will. It 
is all the fault of the ugliest man: he has awakened him 
again. And when he says that he once killed him — in 
the case of gods death is always a mere prejudice." 

"And you," said Zarathustra, "you wicked old magi- 
cian, what have you done? Who should henceforth be- 
lieve in you in this free age, if you believe in such theo- 
asininities? It was a stupidity that you committed; how 
could you, you clever one, commit such a stupidity?" 

"O Zarathustra," replied the clever magician, "you are 
right, it was a stupidity; and it was hard enough for me 

"And you of all people," said Zarathustra to the con- 
scientious in spirit, "consider with a finger alongside 
your nose: doesn't anything here go against your con- 
science? Is your spirit not too clean for such praying 
and the haze of these canters?" 


"There is something in this," replied the conscientious 
man, placing a finger alongside his nose; "there is some- 
thing in this spectacle that even pleases my conscience. 
Perhaps I may not believe in God; but it is certain 
that God seems relatively most credible to me in this 
form. God is supposed to be eternal, according to the 
witness of the most pious: whoever has that much time, 
takes his time. As slowly and as stupidly as possible: 
in this way, one like that can still get very far. 

"And whoever has too much spirit might well grow 
foolishly fond of stupidity and folly itself. Think about 
yourself, O Zarathustra! You yourself — verily, over- 
abundance and wisdom could easily turn you too into 
an ass. Is not the perfect sage fond of walking on the 
most crooked ways? The evidence shows this, O Zara- 
thustra — and you are the evidence." 

"And you yourself, finally," said Zarathustra, turn 
ing to the ugliest man, who still lay on the ground, and 
raising his arm toward the ass (for he was offering him 
wine to drink). "Speak, you inexpressible one, what 
have you done? You seem changed to me, your eyes are 
glowing, the cloak of the sublime lies over your ugli- 
ness: what have you done? Is it true what they say, that 
you have wakened him again? And why? Had he not 
been killed and finished for a reason? You yourself seem 
awakened to me: what have you done? Why did you 
revert? Why did you convert yourself? Speak, you in- 
expressible one!" 

"O Zarathustra," replied the ugliest man, "you are a 
rogue! Whether that one still lives or lives again or is 
thoroughly dead — which of the two of us knows that 
best? I ask you. But one thing I do know; it was from 
you yourself that I learned it once, O Zarathustra: who- 
ever would kill most thoroughly, laughs. 

" 'Not by wrath does one kill, but by laughter' — thus 


you once spoke. O Zarathustra, you hidden one, you 
annihilator without wrath, you dangerous saint — you 
are a rogue!" 


But then it happened that Zarathustra, amazed at all 
these roguish answers, jumped back toward the door of 
liis cave and, turning against all his guests, cried out 
with a strong voice: 

"O you roguish fools, all of you, you jesters! Why do 
you dissemble and hide before me? How all your hearts 
wriggled with pleasure and malice that at last you had 
become again as little children, that is, pious; that at 
last you did again what children do, namely, prayed, 
folded your hands, and said, 'Dear God!' But now leave 
ihis nursery, my own cave, where all childishness is at 
home today! Cool your hot children's prankishness and 
the noise of your hearts out there! 

"To be sure: except ye become as little children, ye 
shall not enter into that kingdom of heaven. (And Zara- 
thustra pointed upward with his hands.) But we have 
no wish whatever to enter into the kingdom of heaven: 
we have become men — so we want the earth." 


And yet once more Zarathustra began to speak. "O 
my new friends," he said, "you strange higher men, how 
well I like you now since you have become gay again. 
Verily, you have all blossomed; it seems to me such 
flowers as you are require new festivals, a little brave 
nonsense, some divine service and ass festival, some old 
gay fool of a Zarathustra, a roaring wind that blows your 
souls bright. 

"Do not forget this night and this ass festival, you 
higher men. This you invented when you were with me 

and I take that for a good sign: such things are in- 
vented only by convalescents. 

"And when you celebrate it again, this ass festival, 
do it for your own sakes, and also do it for my sake. And 
in remembrance of me." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. 


Meanwhile one after the other had stepped out 
into the open and into the cool reflective night; but 
Zarathustra himself led the ugliest man by the hand to 
show him his night-world and the big round moon and 
the silvery waterfalls near his cave. There they stood to- 
gether at last in silence, old people all of them, but with 
comforted brave hearts and secretly amazed at feeling 
so well on this earth; but the secrecy of the night came 
closer and closer to their hearts. And again Zarathustra 
thought to himself: "How well I like them now, these 
higher men!" But he did not say it out loud, for he 
respected their happiness and their silence. 

But then that happened which, on that whole long 
amazing day, was the most amazing thing of all: the 
ugliest man began once more and for the last time to 
gurgle and snort, and when he found words, behold, a 
question jumped out of his mouth, round and clean, a 
good, deep, clear question, which moved the hearts of 
all who were listening to him. 

"My friends, all of you," said the ugliest man, "what 
do you think? For the sake of this day, I am for the 
first time satisfied that I have lived my whole life. And 
that I attest so much is still not enough for me. Living 
on earth is worth while: one day, one festival with 
Zarathustra, taught me to love the earth. 


" 'Was that life?' I want to say to death. 'Well thenl 
Once more!' 

"My friends, what do you think? Do you not want to 
say to death as I do: Was that life? For Zarathustra's 
sake! Well then! Once morel" 

Thus spoke the ugliest man; but it was not long be- 
fore midnight. And what do you suppose happened 
then? As soon as the higher men had heard his question 
they all at once became conscious of how they had 
changed and convalesced and to whom they owed this: 
then they jumped toward Zarathustra to thank, revere, 
caress him, and kiss his hands, each according to his 
own manner; and some were laughing and some were 
crying. But the old soothsayer was dancing with joy; and 
even if, as some of the chroniclers think, he was full of 
sweet wine, he was certainly still fuller of the sweetness 
of life and he had renounced all weariness. There are 
even some who relate that the ass danced too, and that 
it had not been for nothing that the ugliest man had 
given him wine to drink before. Now it may have been 
so or otherwise; and if the ass really did not dance that 
night, yet greater and stranger wonders occurred than 
the dancing of an ass would have been. In short, as the 
proverb of Zarathustra says: "What does it matter?" 


But when this happened to the ugliest man, Zara- 
thustra stood there like a drunkard: his eyes grew dim, 
his tongue failed, his feet stumbled. And who could 
guess what thoughts were then running over Zara- 
thustra's soul? But his spirit fled visibly and flew ahead 
and was in remote distances and, as it were, "on a high 
ridge," as it is written, "between two seas, wandering 
like a heavy cloud between past and future." But as 

the higher men held him in their arms, he gradually 
recovered his senses to some extent and with his hands 
warded off the throng of the revering and worried; yet 
he did not speak. All at once, however, he turned his 
head quickly, for he seemed to be hearing something. 
Then he put one finger to his mouth and said, "Come!" 

And presently it became quiet and secret around; but 
from the depth the sound of a bell came up slowly. 
Zarathustra and the higher men listened for it; but then 
he put one finger to his mouth another time and said 
again, "Come! Come! Midnight approaches." And his 
voice had changed. But still he did not stir from his 
place. Then it grew still more quiet and secret, and 
everything listened, even the ass and Zarathustra's ani- 
mals of honor, the eagle and the serpent, as well as 
Zarathustra's cave and the big cool moon and the night 
itself. But Zarathustra put his hand to his mouth, for 
the third time and said, "Come! Come! Let us wander 
now! The hour has come: let us wander into the niglit!" 


You higher men, midnight approaches: I want to 
whisper something to you as that old bell whispers it 
into my ears — as secretly, as terribly, as cordially as that 
midnight bell, which has experienced more than any 
man, says it to me. It has counted the beats even of 
your fathers' hearts and smarts. Alas! Alas! How it 
sighs! How it laughs in a dream! Old deep, deep mid- 

Still! Still! Here things are heard that by day may not 
become loud; but now in the cool air, when all the 
noise of your hearts too has become still — now it speaks, 
now it is heard, now it steals into nocturnal, overawake 
souls. Alas! Alas! How it sighs! How it laughs in a dreaml 


Do you not hear how it speaks secretly, terribly, cor- 
dially to you — the old deep, deep midnight? 

0 man, take caret 


Woe unto me! Where is time gone? Have I not sunk 
into deep wells? The world sleeps. Alas! Alas! The dog 
howls, the moon shines. Sooner would I die, die rather 
than tell you what my midnight heart thinks now. 

Now I have died. It is gone. Spider, what do you spin 
around me? Do you want blood? Alas! Alas! The dew 
falls, the hour approaches — the hour when I shiver and 
freeze, which asks and asks and asks, "Who has heart 
enough for it? Who shall be the lord of the earth? Who 
will say: thus shall you run, you big and little rivers!" 
The hour approaches: O man, you higher man, take 
care! This speech is for delicate ears, for your ears: 
What does the deep midnight declare? 


1 am carried away, my soul dances. Day's work! Day's 
work! Who shall be the lord of the earth? 

The moon is cool, the wind is silent. Alas! Alas! Have 
you flown high enough yet? You have danced: but a leg 
is no wing. You good dancers, now all pleasure is gone: 
wine has become lees, every cup has become brittle, 
the tombs stammer. You did not fly high enough: now 
the tombs stammer, "Redeem the dead! Why does the 
night last so long? Does not the moon make us 

You higher men, redeem the tombs, awaken the 
corpses! Alas, why does the worm still burrow? The 
hour approaches, approaches; the bell hums, the heart 
still rattles, the deathwatch, the heart-worm still bur- 
rows. Alas! Alas! The world is deep. 



Sweet lyre! Sweet lyre! I love your sound, your 
drunken ranunculus' croaking. From how long ago, from 
how far away your sound comes to me, from the distant 
ponds of love! You old bell, you sweet lyre! Every pain 
has torn into your heart, father-pain, fathers' pain, fore- 
fathers' pain; your speech grew ripe — ripe as golden 
autumn and afternoon, as my hermit's heart; now you 
say: the world itself has grown ripe, the grape is turn- 
ing brown, now it would die, die of happiness. You 
higher men, do you not smell it? A smell is secretly 
welling up, a fragrance and smell of eternity, a rose- 
blessed, brown gold-wine fragrance of old happiness, of 
the drunken happiness of dying at midnight, that 
sings: the world is deep, deeper than day had been 


Leave me! Leave me! I am too pure for you. Do not 
touch me! Did not my world become perfect just now? 
My skin is too pure for your hands. Leave me, you stupid, 
boorish, dumb day! Is not the midnight brighter? The 
purest shall be the lords of the earth — the most un- 
known, the strongest, the midnight souls who are 
brighter and deeper than any day. 

O day, you grope for me? You seek my happiness? I 
seem rich to you, lonely, a treasure pit, a gold-chamber? 
O world, you want me? Am I worldly to you? Am I 
spiritual to you? Am I godlike to you? But day and 
world, you are too ponderous; have cleverer hands, reach 
for deeper happiness, for deeper unhappiness, reach for 
any god, do not reach for me: my unhappiness, my 
happiness is deep, you strange day, but I am yet no god, 
no god's bell: deep is its woe. 



God's woe is deeper, you strange worldl Reach for 
God's woe, not for mel What am I? a drunken sweet 
lyre — a midnight lyre, an ominous bell-frog that nobody 
understands but that must speak, before the deaf, you 
higher men. For you do not understand me! 

Gone! Gone! O youth! O noon! O afternoon! Now 
evening has come and night and midnight — the dog 
howls, the wind: is not the wind a dog? It whines, it 
yelps, it howls. Alas! Alas! How the midnight sighsl 
How it laughs, how it rattles and wheezes! 

How she speaks soberly now, this drunken poetess! 
Perhaps she overdrank her drunkenness? She became 
overawake? She ruminates? Her woe she ruminates in 
a dream, the old deep midnight, and even more her joy. 
For joy, even if woe is deep, joy is deeper yet than 


You vine! Why do you praise me? Did I not cut you? 
I am cruel, you bleed; what does your praise of my 
drunken cruelty mean? 

"What has become perfect, all that is ripe — wants to 
die" — thus you speak. Blessed, blessed be the vintager's 
knife! But all that is unripe wants to live: woe! 

Woe entreats: Go! Away, woe! But all that suffers 
wants to live, that it may become ripe and joyous and 
longing — longing for what is farther, higher, brighter. 
"I want heirs" — thus speaks all that suffers; "I want 
children, I do not want myself." 

Joy, however, does not want heirs, or children — joy 
wants itself, wants eternity, wants recurrence, wants 
everything eternally the same. 

Woe says, "Break, bleed, heart! Wander, leg! Wing, 

fly! Get on! Up! Pain!" Well then, old heart: Woe im- 
plores, "Go!" 


You higher men, what do you think? Am I a 
soothsayer? A dreamer? A drunkard? An interpreter of 
dreams? A midnight bell? A drop of dew? A haze and 
fragrance of eternity? Do you not hear it? Do you not 
smell it? Just now my world became perfect; midnight 
too is noon; pain too is a joy; curses too are a blessing; 
night too is a sun — go away or you will learn: a sage 
too is a fool. 

Have you ever said Yes to a single joy? O my friends, 
then you said Yes too to all woe. All things are en- 
tangled, ensnared, enamored; if ever you wanted one 
thing twice, if ever you said, "You please me, happiness! 
Abide, moment!" then you wanted all back. All anew, 
all eternally, all entangled, ensnared, enamored — oh, 
then you loved the world. Eternal ones, love it eternally 
and evermore; and to woe too, you say: go, but return! 
For all joy wants — eternity. 


All joy wants the eternity of all things, wants honey, 
wants lees, wants drunken midnight, wants tombs, wants 
tomb-tears' comfort, wants gilded evening glow. 

What does joy not want? It is thirstier, more cordial, 
hungrier, more terrible, more secret than all woe; it 
wants itself, it bites into itself, the ring's will strives in 
it; it wants love, it wants hatred, it is overrich, gives, 
throws away, begs that one might take it, thanks the 
taker, it would like to be hated; so rich is joy that it 
thirsts for woe, for hell, for hatred, for disgrace, for 
the cripple, for world — this world, oh, you know it! 

You higher men, for you it longs, joy, the intractable 


blessed one — for your woe, you failures. All eternal joy 

longs for failures. For all joy wants itself, hence it also 

wants agony. O happiness, O pain! Oh, break, heartl 

You higher men, do learn this, joy wants eternity. Joy 

wants the eternity of all things, wants deep, wants deep 



Have you now learned my song? Have you guessed its 
intent? Well then, you higher men, sing me now my 
round. Now you yourselves sing me the song whose 
name is "Once More" and whose meaning is "into all 
eternity" — sing, you higher men, Zarathustra's roundl 

O man, take carel 

What does the deep midnight declare? 
"I was asleep — 

From a deep dream I woke and swear: 

The world is deep, 

Deeper than day had been aware. 

Deep is its woe; 

Joy — deeper yet than agony: 

Woe implores: Gol 

But all joy wants eternity — 

Wants deep, wants deep eternity." 


In the morning after this night, Zarathustra jumped 
up from his resting place, girded his loins, and came 
out of his cave glowing and strong as a morning sun 
that comes out of dark mountains. 

"You great star," he said as he had said once before, 
"you deep eye of happiness, what would your happiness 
be had you not those for whom you shine? And if they 

stayed in their chambers even after you had awakened 
and come and given and distributed, how angry would 
your proud shame bel 

"Well then, they still sleep, these higher men, while 
J am awake: these are not my proper companions. It is 
not for them that I wait here in my mountains. I want 
to go to my work, to my day: but they do not under- 
stand the signs of my morning; my stride is for them 
no summons to awaken. They still sleep in my cave, 
their dream still drinks of my drunken songs. The ear 
that listens for me, the heedful ear is lacking in their 

Thus had Zarathustra spoken to his heart when the 
sun rose; then he lobked questioning into the height, for 
he heard the sharp cry of his eagle above him. "Well 
then!" he cried back; "thus it pleases and suits me. My 
animals are awake, for I am awake. My eagle is awake 
and honors the sun as I do. With eagle talons he grasps 
for the new light. You are the right animals for me; I 
love you. But I still lack the right men." 

Thus spoke Zarathustra. But then it happened that 
he suddenly heard himself surrounded as by innumerable 
swarming and fluttering birds: but the whirring of so 
many wings and the thronging about his head were so 
great that he closed his eyes. And verily, like a cloud it 
came over him, like a cloud of arrows that empties it- 
self over a new enemy. But behold, here it was a cloud 
of love, and over a new friend. 

"What is happening to me?" thought Zarathustra in 
his surprised heart, and slowly he sat down on the big 
stone that lay near the exit of his cave. But as he reached 
out with his hands around and over and under himself, 
warding off the affectionate birds, behold, something 
stranger yet happened to him: for unwittingly he 
reached into a thick warm mane; and at the same time 


he heard a roar in front of him — a soft, long lion roar. 

"The sign is at hand," said Zarathustra, and a change 
came over his heart. And indeed, as it became light 
before him, a mighty yellow animal lay at his feet and 
pressed its head against his knees and out of love did 
not want to let go of him, and acted like a dog that 
finds its old master again. But the doves were no less 
eager in their love than the lion; and whenever a dove 
slipped over the lion's nose, the lion shook its head and 
was amazed and laughed. 

About all this Zarathustra spoke but a single sentence: 
"My children are near, my children." Then he became 
entirely silent. But his heart was loosed, and tears 
dropped from his eyes and fell on his hands. And he no 
longer heeded anything and sat there motionless, with- 
out warding off the animals any more. Then the doves 
flew about and sat on his shoulders and caressed his 
white hair and did not weary of tenderness and jubi- 
lation. But the strong lion kept licking up the tears that 
fell on Zarathustra's hands and roared and growled 
bashfully. Thus acted these animals. 

All this lasted a long time, or a short time: for properly 
speaking, there is no time on earth for such things. But 
meanwhile the higher men in Zarathustra's cave had 
awakened and arranged themselves in a procession to 
meet Zarathustra and bid him good morning; for they 
had found when they awakened that he was no longer 
among them. But when they reached the door of the 
cave and the sound of their steps ran ahead of them, the 
lion started violently, turned away from Zarathustra 
suddenly, and jumped toward the cave, roaring savagely. 
But when the higher men heard it roar, they all cried 
out as with a single mouth, and they fled back and 
disappeared in a flash. 

Zarathustra himself, however, dazed and strange, rose 
from his seat, looked around, stood there amazed, ques- 
tioned his heart, reflected, and was alone. "What did 
I hear?" he finally said slowly; "what happened to me 
just now?" And presently memory came to him and 
with a single glance he grasped everything that had 
happened between yesterday and today. "Here is the 
stone," he said, stroking his beard, "where I sat yester- 
day morning; and here the soothsayer came to me, and 
here I first heard the cry which I heard just now, the 
great cry of distress. 

"O you higher men, it was your distress that this old 
soothsayer prophesied to me yesterday morning; to your 
distress he wanted to seduce and tempt me. O Zara- 
thustra, he said to me, I come to seduce you to your 
final sin. 

"To my final sin?" shouted Zarathustra, and he 
laughed angrily at his own words; "what was it that was 
saved up for me as my final sin?" 

And once more Zarathustra became absorbed in him- 
self, and he sat down again on the big stone and re- 
flected. Suddenly he jumped up. "Pity! Pity for the 
higher man!" he cried out, and his face changed to 
bronze. "Well then, that has had its time! My suffering 
and my pity for suffering — what does it matter? Am I 
concerned with happiness? I am concerned with my 

"Well then! The lion came, my children are near, 
Zarathustra has ripened, my hour has come: this is my 
morning, my day is breaking: rise now, rise, thou great 

Thus spoke Zarathustra, and he left his cave, glowing 
and strong as a morning sun that comes out of dark 


Note (1884) 1 

. . . The degeneration of rulers and of the ruling 
classes has made for the greatest mischief in history. 
Without the Roman Caesars and Roman society, the 
insanity of Christianity would never have come to rule. 

When the lesser men begin to doubt whether there 
are higher men, then the danger is great. . . . When 
Nero and Caracalla sat up there, the paradox originated 
that "the lowest man is worth more than that man up 
there." And an image of God was spread which was as 
far removed as possible from the image of the most 
powerful — the god on the cross. . . . 


to overbeck 

Sils Maria, September 14, 1884 
. . . This is the mistake which I seem to make eternally, 
that I imagine the sufferings of others as far greater 
than they really are. Ever since my childhood, the prop- 
osition "my greatest dangers lie in pity" has been con- 
firmed again and again. . . . 

Nizza, December 22, 1884 
. . . I am having translated into German for me (in 
writing) a longish essay by Emerson, which gives some 
clarity about his development. If you want it, it is at 
your disposal and your wife's. I do not know how much 
I would give if only I could bring it about, ex post facto, 

1 Published as section 874 of The Will to Power by Nietz- 
sche's executors. 

that such a glorious, great nature, rich in soul and 
spirit, might have gone through some strict discipline, 
a really scientific education. As it is, in Emerson we 
have Zost a philosopher. . . . 


Nizza, March 1885 

... It seems to me that a human being with the very 
best of intentions can do immeasurable harm, if he is 
immodest enough to wish to profit those whose spirit 
and will are concealed from him. . . . 


Sils Maria, July 2, 1885 
... I hold up before myself the images of Dante and 
Spinoza, who were better at accepting the lot of soli- 
tude. Of course, their way of thinking, compared to 
mine, was one which made solitude bearable; and in 
the end, for all those who somehow still had a "God" 
for company, what I experience as "solitude" really did 
not yet exist. My life now consists in the wish that it 
might be otherwise with all things than I comprehend, 
and that somebody might make my "truths" appear 
incredible to me. . . . 


Rule? Press my type on others? Dreadful. Is not -my 
happiness precisely the sight of many who are different? 
Problem, (xiv, 126) 


The will to a system: in a philosopher, morally speak- 
ing, a subtle corruption, a disease of the character; 


amorally speaking, his will to pose as more stupid than 
he is — more stupid, that means: stronger, simpler, more 
commanding, less educated, more masterful, more tyran- 
nical, (xiv, 313) 

Being nationalistic in the sense in which it is now 
demanded by public opinion would, it seems to me, be 
for us who are more spiritual not mere insipidity but 
dishonesty, a deliberate deadening of our better will and 
conscience. (xiv, 332) 

From a Draft for a Preface 

Fall of 1885 


A book for thinking, nothing else: it belongs to those 
to whom thinking is a delight, nothing else. That it is 
written in German is untimely, to say the least: I wish I 
had written it in French so that it might not appear 
to be a confirmation of the aspirations of the German 
Reich. The Germans of today are not thinkers any 
more: something else delights and impresses them. 
The will to power as a principle might be intelligible to 
them. Among Germans today the least thinking is done. 
But who knows? In two generations one will no longer 
require the sacrifice involved in any nationalistic squan- 
dering of power, and in hebetation. (Formerly, I wished 
I had not written my Zarathustra in German.) 




Beyond Good and Evil 

editor's note 

First published in 1886, aphoristic in appearance, this book 
is more continuous than it seems at first glance. 


In the Jewish "Old Testament," the book of divine 
justice, there are men, things, and speeches in so grand 
a style that Greek and Indian literature have nothing 
to compare with it. One stands in awe and reverence 
before these tremendous remnants of what man once 
was, and sad thoughts come to one about ancient Asia 
and its jutting peninsula, Europe, which wants so defi- 
nitely to signify, as against Asia, the "progress of man." 
Of course, those who are merely wretched tame domestic 
animals and know only the wants of domestic animals 
(like our cultivated people of today, including the 
Christians of "cultivated" Christianity) need neither be 
amazed nor even sorry when faced with these ruins: the 
taste for the Old Testament is a touchstone of "great- 
ness" and "smallness." Perhaps they will even find the 
New Testament, the book of grace, more to their taste (it 
is full of the odor of the real, effeminate, stupid canter 
and petty soul). To have glued this New Testament, a 
kind of rococo of taste in every respect, to the Old 
Testament to form one book — the "Bible," the book — 
that is perhaps the greatest audacity and "sin against 
the spirit" which literary Europe has on its conscience. 



The degree and kind of a person's sexuality reach up 
into the ultimate pinnacle of his spirit. 


A people is nature's detour to arrive at six or seven 
great men — and then to get around them. 


What is done out of love always occurs beyond good 
and evil. 


Jesus said to his Jews: "The law was for servants; love 
God as I love him, as his son. What are morals to us 
sons of God?" 


It seems to me more and more that the philosopher, 
as a necessary man of tomorrow and the day after to- 
morrow, has always found himself, and always had to 
find himself, in opposition to his today: the ideal of the 
day was always his enemy. Hitherto all these extraordi- 
nary promoters of man, who are called philosophers, 
and who rarely have felt themselves to be friends of 
wisdom, but rather disagreeable fools and dangerous 
question marks, have found their task, their hard, un- 
wanted, inescapable task, but finally also the greatness 
of their task, in being the bad conscience of their time. 
By applying the knife vivisectionally to the very virtues 
of the time they betrayed their own secret: to know of 
a new greatness of man, of a new untrodden way to his 
enhancement. Each time they have uncovered how 
much hypocrisy, comfortableness, letting oneself go and 

letting oneself drop, how many lies, were concealed 
under the most honored type of their contemporary 
morality, how much virtue was outlived. Each time they 
said: "We must proceed there, that way, where today 
you are least at home." 

Confronted with a world of "modem ideas," which 
would banish everybody into a corner and a "specialty," 
a philosopher — if there could be any philosophers to- 
day — would be forced to define the greatness of man, 
the concept of "greatness," in terms precisely of man's 
comprehensiveness and multiplicity, his wholeness in 
manifoldness: he would even determine worth and rank 
according to how much and how many things a person 
could bear and take upon himself, how far a person 
could extend his responsibility. Today the taste and 
virtue of the time weaken and thin out the will; nothing 
is more timely than weakness of the will. Therefore, 
according to the philosopher's ideal, it is precisely 
strength of will, hardness, and the capacity for long- 
range decisions which must form part of the concept of 
"greatness" — with as much justification as the opposite 
doctrine, and the ideal of a dumb, renunciatory, humble, 
selfless humanity, was suitable for an opposite age, one 
which, like the sixteenth century, suffered from its ac- 
cumulated will power and the most savage floods and 
tidal waves of selfishness. 

At the time of Socrates, among men of fatigued in- 
stincts, among the conservatives of ancient Athens who 
let themselves go — "for happiness," as they said; for 
pleasure, as they behaved — and who at the same time 
still used the old omate words to which their life had 
long ceased to entitle them, irony was perhaps necessary 
for greatness of soul — that Socratic sarcastic assurance 
of the old physician and plebeian who cut ruthlessly 
into his own flesh, as well as into the flesh and heart of 


the "nobility," with a glance that said unmistakably: 
"Don't try to deceive me by dissimulation. Here we 
are equal." 

Today, conversely, when only the herd animal is 
honored and dispenses honors in Europe, and when 
"equality of rights" could all too easily be converted 
into an equality in violating rights — by that I mean, 
into a common war on all that is rare, strange, or privi- 
leged, on the higher man, the higher soul, the higher 
duty, the higher responsibility, and on the wealth of 
creative power and mastery — today the concept of 
"greatness" entails being noble, wanting to be by one- 
self, being capable of being different, standing alone, 
and having to live independently; and the philosopher 
will betray something of his own ideal when he posits: 
"He shall be the greatest who can be the loneliest, the 
most hidden, the most deviating, the human being be- 
yond good and evil, the master of his virtues, he that is 
overrich in will. Precisely this should be called great- 
ness: to be capable of being as manifold as whole, as 
wide as full." And to ask this once more: today — is 
greatness possible? 


. . . The commanding something, which the people 
call "spirit," wants to be master over itself and its 
surroundings and to feel its mastery: it has the will from 
multiplicity to simplicity — a will that would tie together, 
harness, be master, and that really is masterly. Its 
needs and capacities are thus the same as those the 
physiologists find in everything that lives, grows, and 
reproduces. The power of the spirit to appropriate what 
is foreign manifests itself in a strong tendency to assimi- 
late the new to the old, to simplify the manifold. . . . 




The Gay Science: Book V 

editor's note 
Book V was added to the second edition in 1887. 


The background of our cheerfulness. The greatest 
recent event — that "God is dead," that the belief in the 
Christian God has ceased to be believable — is even now 
beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe. For the 
few, at least, whose eyes, whose suspicion in their eyes, 
is strong and sensitive enough for this spectacle, some 
sun seems to have set just now. ... In the main, how- 
ever, this may be said: the event itself is much too great, 
too distant, too far from the comprehension of the many 
even for the tidings of it to be thought of as having 
arrived yet, not to speak of the notion that many people 
might know what has really happened here, and what 
must collapse now that this belief has been undermined 
— all that was built upon it, leaned on it, grew into it; 
for example, our whole European morality. . . . 

Even we bom guessers of riddles who are, as it were, 
waiting on the mountains, put there between today and 
tomorrow and stretched in the contradiction between 
today and tomorrow, we firstlings and premature births 
of the coming century, to whom the shadows that must 
soon envelop Europe really should have appeared by now 
— why is it that even we look forward to it without any 
real compassion for this darkening, and above all with- 
out any worry and fear for ourselves? Is it perhaps that 


we are still too deeply impressed by the first conse- 
quences of this event — and these first consequences, 
the consequences for us, are perhaps the reverse of 
what one might expect: not at all sad and dark, but 
rather like a new, scarcely desciibable kind of light, 
happiness, relief, exhilaration, encouragement, dawn? 
Indeed, we philosophers and "free spirits" feel as if a 
new dawn were shining on us when we receive the tid- 
ings that "the old god is dead"; our heart overflows 
with gratitude, amazement, anticipation, expectation. At 
last the horizon appears free again to us, even granted 
that it is not bright; at last our ships may venture out 
again, venture out to face any danger; all the daring of 
the lover of knowledge is permitted again; the sea, our 
sea, lies open again; perhaps diere has never yet been 
such an "open sea." 


How far we too are still pious. In science, convictions 
have no rights of citizenship, as is said with good reason. 
Only when they decide to descend to the modesty of a 
hypothesis, of a provisional experimental point of view, 
of a regulative fiction, may they be granted admission 
and even a certain value within the realm of knowledge 
— though always with the restriction that they remain 
under police supervision, under the police of mistrust. 
But does this not mean, more precisely considered, that 
a conviction may obtain admission to science only when 
it ceases to be a conviction? Would not the discipline 
of the scientific spirit begin with this, no longer to per- 
mit oneself any convictions? Probably that is how it is. 
But one must still ask whether it is not the case that, 
in order that this discipline could begin, a conviction 
must have been there already, and even such a com- 
manding and unconditional one that it sacrificed all 

other convictions for its own sake. It is clear that science 
too rests on a faith; there is no science "without presup- 
positions." The question whether truth is needed must 
not only have been affirmed in advance, but affirmed to 
the extent that the principle, the faith, the conviction is 
expressed: "nothing is needed more than truth, and in 
relation to it everything else has only second-rate value." 

This unconditional will to truth: what is it? . . . 
What do you know in advance of the character of exist- 
ence, to be able to decide whether the greater advantage 
is on the side of the unconditionally mistrustful or of 
the unconditionally trusting? Yet if both are required, 
much trust and much mistrust: whence might science 
then take its unconditional faith, its conviction, on which 
it rests, that truth is more important than anything else, 
even than any other conviction? Just this conviction 
could not have come into being if both truth and un- 
truth showed themselves to be continually useful, as is 
the case. Thus, though there undeniably exists a faith 
in science, it cannot owe its origin to such a utilitarian 
calculus but it must rather have originated in spite of 
the fact that the inutility and dangerousness of the "will 
to truth," of "truth at any price," are proved to it 
continually. . . . 

Consequently, "will to truth" does not mean "I will 
not let myself be deceived" but — there is no choice — 
"I will not deceive, not even myself": and with this we 
are on the ground of morality. For one should ask one- 
self carefully: "Why don't you want to deceive?" espe- 
cially if it should appear — and it certainly does appear 
— that life depends on appearance; I mean, on error, 
simulation, deception, self-deception; and when life has, 
as a matter of fact, always shown itself to be on the side 
of the most unscrupulous polytropoi. Such an intent, 
charitably interpreted, could perhaps be a quixotism, a 


little enthusiastic impudence; but it could also be some- 
thing worse, namely, a destructive principle, hostile to 
life. "Will to truth" — that might be a concealed will to 

Thus the question "Why science?" leads back to the 
moral problem, "For what end any morality at all" if 
life, nature, and history are "not moral"? . • • But one 
will have gathered what I am driving at, namely, that 
it always remains a metaphysical faith upon which our 
faith in science rests — that even we devotees of knowl- 
edge today, we godless ones and anti-metaphysicians, 
still take our fire too from the flame which a faith thou- 
sands of years old has kindled: that Christian faith, 
which was also Plato's faith, that God is truth, that 
truth is divine. . . . 


Toward a Genealogy of Morals 

editor's note 

This book of roughly two hundred pages was first published 
in 1887. It consists of three inquiries. The first, entitled 
"Good and Evil versus Good and Bad," contrasts "slave 
morality" and "master morality." The origin of the former 
is found in ressentiment. Nietzsche has reservations about 
"master morality" too, as he explains in the chapter on 
"The 'Improvers' of Mankind" in The Twilight of the 
Idols. The second inquiry has the title: "Guilt, Bad Con- 
science, and Related Matters." The third: "What is the 
Meaning of Ascetic Ideals?" 

The decision to present in this volume, unabridged, 
Nietzsche's later works rather than his earliest efforts, and 
to represent his aphoristic books by selections, seemed ob- 
vious. The Genealogy is a late work and not aphoristic, but 


its major ideas, and much else too, will be gleaned from 
Zarathustra and the books of 1888 which are offered com- 
plete — and from the following selections which represent 
the core of each of the three inquiries. 


The slaves' revolt in morals begins with this, that 
ressentiment itself becomes creative and gives birth to 
values: the ressentiment of those who are denied 
the real reaction, that of the deed, and who compensate 
with an imaginary revenge. Whereas all noble morality 
grows out of a triumphant affirmation of oneself, slave 
morality immediately says No to what comes from out- 
side, to what is different, to what is not oneself: and 
this No is its creative deed. This reversal of the value- 
positing glance — this necessary direction outward in- 
stead of back to oneself — is of the nature of ressenti- 
ment: to come into being, slave morality requires an 
outside world, a counterworld; physiologically speaking, 
it requires external stimuli in order to react at all: 
its action is at bottom always a reaction. 

The reverse is true of the noble way of evaluating: 
it acts and grows spontaneously, it seeks out its opposite 
only in order to say Yes to itself still more gratefully, 
still more jubilantly; and its negative concept, "base," 
"mean," "bad," is only an after-bom, pale, contrasting 
image in relation to the positive basic concept, which is 
nourished through and through with life and passion: 
"we who are noble, good, beautiful, happy!" 

... To be unable to take one's o,wn enemies, acci- 
dents, and misdeeds seriously for long — that is the 
sign of strong and rich natures. . . . Such a man simply 
shakes off with one shrug much vermin that would have 


buried itself deep in others; here alone is it also possible 
— assuming that it is possible at all on earth — that there 
be real "love of one's enemies." How much respect has 
a noble person for his enemies! And such respect is al- 
ready a bridge to love. After all, he demands his enemy 
for himself, as his distinction; he can stand no enemy 
but one in whom there is nothing to be despised and 
much to be honored. Conversely, imagine "the enemy" 
as conceived by a man of ressentiment — and here pre- 
cisely is his deed, his creation: he has conceived "the 
evil enemy," "the evil one" — and indeed as the funda- 
mental concept from which he then derives, as an after- 
image and counterinstance, a "good one" — himself. 



Let us add a word here concerning the origin and aim 
of punishment — two problems which are, or should be, 
distinct. Unfortunately, they are usually confounded. 
. . . For every kind of historiography there is no more 
important proposition than this, which has been dis- 
covered with so much effort, but now also ought to be 
discovered once and for all: the cause of the origin of 
a thing and its eventual usefulness, its actual employ- 
ment and incorporation into a system of aims, lie worlds 
apart. . . . 


To return to the subject, namely punishment, we must 
distinguish two things: first, the relatively enduring as- 
pect, the custom, the act, the "drama," a certain strict 
succession of procedures; on the other hand, the fluid 
aspect, the meaning, the aim, the expectation which 

attends the execution of these procedures. . • . Today 
it is impossible to say definitely why punishment is 
meted out: all concepts in which a whole process is 
comprehended semeiotically, escape definition; only 
what has no history is definable. . . . 


Apart from the ascetic ideal, man — the animal, man 
— had no meaning hitherto. His existence on earth had 
no goal. "Why have man at all?" was a question without 
an answer. . . . Precisely this was the meaning of the 
ascetic ideal, that something was lacking, that a tre- 
mendous gap surrounded man: he did not know how 
to justify, explain, or affirm himself, he suffered from 
the problem of his meaning. He suffered in other ways 
too; he was in the main a sickly animal: yet suffering as 
such was not his problem, but that the answer was lack- 
ing to the cry of the question "Why suffer?" Man, as the 
animal that is most courageous, most accustomed to suf- 
fering, does not negate suffering as such: he wants it, 
even seeks it out, provided one shows him some meaning 
in it, some wherefore of suffering. The meaninglessness 
of suffering, not suffering itself, was the curse which 
hitherto lay spread out over mankind — and the ascetic 
ideal offered mankind meaning. So far it has been the 
only meaning; any meaning at all is better than no 
meaning at all; the ascetic ideal was in every respect the 
faute de mieux par excellence that we have had so far. 
Through this, suffering was interpreted; the tremendous 
emptiness seemed filled out; the door was closed to all 
suicidal nihilism. The interpretation undoubtedly in- 
volved new suffering, even more profound, more in- 
ward, more poisonous, that gnawed at life more: it 


placed all suffering in the perspective of guilt. Yet 
in spite of that — man was saved: he had a meaning; 
henceforth he was no longer like a leaf in the wind, 
a football of nonsense, of "no-sense"; he could now 
want something — and to begin with, it mattered not 
what, whereto, or how he wanted: the will itself was 
saved. In the end, one can hardly conceal what it 
was that this will really expressed when it received 
its direction from the ascetic ideal: that hatred against 
everything human, even more, against everything ani- 
mal, everything material, this disgust with the senses, 
with reason itself, this fear of happiness and beauty, 
this desire to get away from all semblance, change, 
becoming, death, wish, desire itself — the meaning of 
all this, should we dare to comprehend it, is a will to 
nothingness, a will running counter to life, a revolt 
against the most fundamental presuppositions of life; 
yet it is and remains a will! And, to repeat at the end 
what I said in the beginning: rather than want nothing, 
man even wants nothingness. 

Letter to Overbeck 

Nizza, February 23, 1887 
. . . I did not even know the name of Dostoevski just 
a few weeks ago — uneducated person that I am, not 
reading any journals. An accidental reach of the arm in 
a bookstore brought to my attention L'esprit souterrain, 
a work just translated into French. (It was a similar 
accident with Schopenhauer in my 21st year and with 
Stendhal in my 35th.) The instinct of kinship (or how 
should I name it?) spoke up immediately; my joy was 
extraordinary: I must go back all the way to my first 
acquaintance with Stendhal's Rouge et Noir to remem- 

ber an equal joy. (It is two novellas, the first really a 
piece of music, very strange, very un-German music; the 
second, a stroke of genius in psychology, a kind of self- 
derision of the -(vibdi aauiov. 1 ) Incidentally, these 
Greeks have a lot on their conscience — falsification was 
their true trade; the whole of European psychology is 
sick with Greek superficiality; and without that little 
bit of Judaism — etc., etc., etc. . . . 

Notes (1887) 2 

"There is thinking; consequently there is that which 
thinks" — that is what Descartes' argument comes to. 
Yet this means positing our faith in the concept of sub- 
stance as "a priori true." When there is thinking, some- 
thing must be there which thinks — that is merely a 
formulation of our grammatical habit, which posits a 
doer for what is done. . . . 


. . . Rational thought is interpretation according to 
a scheme which we cannot escape. 


Concerning the "Machiavellism" of power. The will 
to power manifests itself 

(a) among the suppressed, among slaves of all kinds, 
as a will to "freedom": merely to get away appears as 

1 "Know thyself!" 

' Published as part of The Will to Power by Nietzsche's 


the goal (morally and religiously: "responsible only to 

one's own conscience," "evangelical freedom," etc.); 

(b) among a stronger type which is growing up to 
reach for power, as a will to overpower; if unsuccessful 
at first, it may then limit itself to a will to "justice," that 
is, to equal rights with the ruling type; 

(c) among the strongest, richest, most independent, 
and most courageous as "love of humanity," of the 
"people," of the Gospel, of truth, of God; as pity, "self- 
sacrifice," etc. . . . 


Hatred of mediocrity is unworthy of a philosopher: 
it is almost a question mark against his "right to philos- 
ophy." Just because he is the exception, he must protect 
the rule, and he must encourage self-confidence in all 
the mediocre. 


Type of my disciples. To those human beings in whom 
I have a stake I wish suffering, being forsaken, sickness, 
maltreatment, humiliation — I wish that that profound 
self-contempt, the torture of mistrust of oneself, and the 
misery of him who is overcome, not remain unknown to 
them: I have no pity for them because I wish them the 
only thing which can prove today whether one has worth 
or not — that one holds out. 

Letter to His Sister 

Christmas 1887 

. . . You have committed one of the greatest stupidi- 
ties — for yourself and for me! Your association with an 
anti-Semitic chief expresses a foreignness to my whole 

way of life which fills me again and again with ire or 
melancholy. ... It is a matter of honor with me to be 
absolutely clean and unequivocal in relation to anti- 
Semitism, namely, opposed to it, as I am in my writings. 
I have recently been persecuted with letters and Anti- 
Semitic Sheets. My disgust with this 
party (which would like the benefit of my name only 
too well!) is as pronounced as possible, but the relation 
to Forster, 1 as well as the afteraffects of my former pub- 
lisher, the anti-Semitic Schmeitzner, always brings the 
adherents of this disagreeable party back to the idea 
that I must belong to them after all. ... It arouses 
mistrust against my character, as if publicly I con- 
demned something which I favored secretly — and that 
I am unable to do anything against it, that the name of 
Zarathustra is used in every Anti-Semitic Correspond- 
ence Sheet, has almost made me sick several times. . . . 

Notes (1888) 2 

That the value of an act should depend on what 
preceded it in consciousness — how false that is! And 
yet morality has been measured that way, even crim- 

The value of an act must be measured by its con- 
sequences, the utilitarians say: measuring it by its origin 
implies an impossibility, namely, knowing the origin. 

But does one know the consequences? Perhaps as far 
as five steps. Who could say what an act stimulates, 
excites, provokes against itself? As a stimulus? Perhaps 

1 Nietzsche's sister's husband. 

* Published as part of The Will to Power by Nietzsche's 


as the ignition spark for an explosive? The utilitarians 
are naive. And in the end we would first have to know 
what is useful: here too their vision extends for only 
five steps. They have no conception of any great econ- 
omy which does not know how to dispense with 
evil. . . . 


Against that positivism which stops before phenom- 
ena, saying "there are only facts," I should say: no, it is 
precisely facts that do not exist, only interpretations. . . . 


Artists are not the men of great passion, whatever 
they may try to tell us and themselves. And that for two 
reasons: they have no shame before themselves (they 
observe themselves while they live; they lie in wait for 
themselves, they are too curious), and they also have no 
shame before great passion (they exploit it artistically). 
Secondly, their vampire — their talent — generally be- 
grudges them any such squandering 0? energy as is 
involved in passion. With a talent, one is also the victim 
of that talent: one lives under the vampirism of one's 

One is not finished with one's passion because one 
represents it: rather, one is finished with it wlien one 
represents it. (Goethe teaches it differently; but it seems 
that here he wished to misunderstand himself — out of 


One recognizes the superiority of the Greek man, of 
the man of the Renaissance — but one would like to 
have it without its causes and conditions. 

NOTES (1888) 



. . . Dionysus versus "the Crucified One": there you 
have the contrast. It is not martyrdom that constitutes 
the difference — only here it has two different senses. 
Life itself, its eternal fruitfulness and recurrence, in- 
volves agony, destruction, the will to annihilation. In 
the other case, suffering — "the Crucified One as the 
Innocent One" — is considered an objection to this life, 
as the formula of its condemnation. Clearly, the problem 
is that of the meaning of suffering: whether a Christian 
meaning or a tragic meaning. In the first case, it is sup- 
posed to be the path to a sacred existence; in the second 
case, existence is considered sacred enough to justify 
even a tremendous amount of suffering. The tragic man 
affirms even the harshest suffering: he is sufficiently 
strong, rich, and deifying for this; the Christian negates 
even the happiest life on earth: he is sufficiently weak, 
poor, and disinherited to suffer from life in any form. 
The God on the cross is a curse on life, a pointer to seek 
redemption from it; Dionysus cut to pieces is a promise 
of life: it is eternally reborn and comes back from 


The Wagner Case 

editor's note 

An often very funny polemic of about fifty pages. The fol- 
lowing excerpt is from section 3. 

There is nothing on which Wagner has reflected so 
much as on redemption: his opera is the opera of 


redemption. Somebody or other always wants to be re- 
deemed: now a little man, now a little woman — that is 
his problem. And how richly he varies his leitmotif! 
What rare, what deeply thoughtful modulations! Who, 
if not Wagner, would have taught us that innocence 
prefers to redeem interesting sinners? (The case in 
Tannhauser.) Or that even the Wandering Jew is re- 
deemed and settles down when he marries? (The case 
in The Flying Dutchman.) Or that old corrupted 
females prefer to be redeemed by chaste young men? 
(The case of Kundry.) Or that beautiful girls like best 
to be redeemed by a knight, who is a Wagnerian? (The 
case in Die Meistersinger.) Or that even married women 
like being redeemed by a knight? (The case of Isolde.) 
Or that "the old god," after having compromised him- 
self morally in every way, is finally redeemed by a free 
spirit and immoralist? (The case in The Ring.) Admire 
this last profundity in particular! Do you understand it? 
I — beware of understanding it. 

That there are also other teachings to be derived from 
the works enumerated I would sooner prove than con- 
test. That a Wagnerian ballet can drive one to despair — 
and to virtue! (Again the case in Tannhauser.) That 
the worst consequences may ensue if one does not go 
to bed at the right time. (Again the case in Lohengrin.) 
That one should never know too precisely whom one 
has really married. (For the third time, the case in 

Tristan and Isolde glorifies the perfect spouse who, in 
a certain situation, has but one question: "But why 
didn't you tell me that before? Nothing simpler than 
that!" The answer: 

"That I may not tell you; 
And what you ask, 
That you may never know." 

Lohengrin contains a solemn excommunication of in- 
quiry and questioning. Wagner here advocates the Chris- 
tian concept: "You shall and must have faith." It is a 
crime against the highest, the holiest, to be scientific. 

The Flying Dutchman preaches the sublime doctrine 
that woman settles even the most unsettled man — in 
Wagnerian terms, she "redeems him." Here we permit 
ourselves a question: Suppose this were true — does that 
also make it desirable? What becomes of the eternal 
"Wandering Jew" whom a wife adores and settles? He 
merely ceases to be eternal; he gets married and does 
not concern us any more. . . . 

» b 



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B J.t 

Editor's Preface 

Nietzsche's last productive year, 1888, was also his most 
productive. He began with The Wagner Case and ended 
with Nietzsche contra Wagner, and in between he dashed 
off Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, and Eccc Homo. 
These books are sometimes dismissed as mere products of 
insanity, and they certainly manifest a rapid breakdown of 
the author's inhibitions. In some passages of The Antichrist, 
Nietzsche's fury breaks all dams; and the madness of his 
conceit in Ecce Homo is harnessed only by his matchless 
irony, though much of this is lost on readers who do not 
know Nietzsche's earlier works. Compared to such fireworks, 
Twilight of the Idols is relatively calm and sane, except for 
its title; and none of his other works contains an equally 
comprehensive summary of his later philosophy and psy- 
chology. With its roughly one hundred pages, the book 
furnishes a fine epitome of Nietzsche. 

The spectacular title was an afterthought. Nietzsche had 
become interested in Francis Bacon, and his own discussion 
of "Four Great Errors" probably reminded him of Bacon's 
"Four Idols." Hence the thought of varying Wagner's title, 
Gotterdiimmerung, by coining Gotzen-Dammerung, "Twi- 



bght of the Idols." When he wrote the preface, however, 
the title was still to be A Psychologist's Idleness. But on 
September 20 his worshipful admirer Peter. Gast wrote him 
a fateful letter. Gast's real name was Ileinrich Koselitz. He 
was a composer, and he assisted Nietzsche by copying man- 
uscripts and reading proofs. Having completed his first 
reading of this manuscript, he wrote: "The title, A Psychol- 
ogist's Idleness, sounds too unassuming to me when I think 
how it might impress other people: you have driven your 
artillery on the highest mountains, you have such guns as 
have never yet existed, and you need only shoot blindly to 
inspire terror all around. The stride [Gong] of a giant, 
which makes the mountains shake to their foundations, is 
no longer idleness [Miissiggang], ... So I beg you, if an 
incompetent person may beg: a more sumptuous, more re- 
splendent title!" Such adulatory flattery was surely what 
Nietzsche needed least just then. He changed the title and 
added as a subtitle: "How One Philosophizes With a Ham- 
mer." It is usually assumed that he means a sledge hammer. 
The preface, however, from which the image is derived as 
an afterthought, explains: idols "are here touched with a 
hammer as with a tuning fork." 

This was the last work Nietzsche himself published: 
when it came out in January 1889, he was insane and no 
longer aware of any of his works. The Antichrist and Nietz- 
sche contra Wagner were not published until 1895; Ecce 
Homo only in 1908. 


Preface 465 

Maxims and Arrows 466 

The Problem of Socrates 473 

"Reason" in Philosophy 479 

How the "True World" Finally Became a Fable 485 

Morality as Anti-Nature 486 

The Four Great Errors 492 

The "Improvers" of Mankind 5°* 

What the Germans Lack 505 


Skirmishes of an Untimely Man 
What I Owe to the Ancients 
The Hammer Speaks 




Maintaining cheerfulness in the midst of a gloomy 
affair, fraught with immeasurable responsibility, is no 
small feat; and yet what is needed more than cheer- 
fulness? Nothing succeeds if prankishness has no part 
in it. Excess of strength alone is the proof of strength. 

A revaluation of all values, this question mark, so 
black, so tremendous that it casts shadows upon the man 
who puts it down — such a destiny of a task compels one 
to run into the sun every moment to shake off a heavy, 
all-too-heavy seriousness. Every means is proper for 
this; every "case" 1 a case of luck. Especially, war. War 
has always been the great wisdom of all spirits who have 
become too inward, too profound; even in a wound 
there is the power to heal. A maxim, the origin of which 
I withhold from scholarly curiosity, has long been 
my motto: 

Increscunt animi, virescit volnere virtus. 2 

Another mode of convalescence — under certain cir- 
cumstances even more to my liking — is sounding out 
idols. There are more idols than realities in the world: 
that is my "evil eye" for this world; that is also my 
"evil ear." For once to pose questions here with a 
hammer, and, perhaps, to hear as a reply that famous 
hollow sound which speaks of bloated entrails — what 
a delight for one who has ears even behind his ears, for 

*An allusion to Nietzsche's The Wagner Case (1888), a 

* "The spirits increase, vigor grows through a wound." 


me, an old psychologist and pied piper before whom 
just that which would remain silent must become out- 

This essay too — the title betrays it — is above all a 
recreation, a spot of sunshine, a leap sideways into the 
idleness of a psychologist. Perhaps a new war, too? 
And are new idols sounded out? This little essay is a 
great declaration of war; and regarding the sounding out 
of idols, this time they are not just idols of the age, but 
eternal idols, which are here touched with a hammer as 
with a tuning fork: there are altogether no older, no 
more convinced, no more puffed-up idols — and none 
more hollow. That does not prevent them from being 
those in which people have the most faith; nor does one 
ever say "idol," especially not in the most distinguished 

Turin, September 30, 1888, 

on the day when the first book 1 of the Revaluation 
of All Values was completed. 

Friedrich Nietzsche 
maxims and arrows 


Idleness is the beginning of all psychology. What? 
Should psychology be a vice? 2 


Even the most courageous among us only rarely has 
the courage for that which he really knows. 

1 That is, The Antichrist. 

•There is a German proverb: "Idleness is the beginning 
of all vices." 




To live alone one must be a beast or a god, says 
Aristotle. Leaving out the third case: one must be both 
— a philosopher. 


"All truth is simple." Is that not doubly a lie? 

I want, once and for all, not to know many things. 
Wisdom sets limits to knowledge too. 


In our own wild nature we find the best recreation 
from our un-nature, from our spirituality. 


What? Is man merely a mistake of Cod's? Or God 
merely a mistake of man's? 


Out of life's school of war: What does not destroy me, 
makes me stronger. 


Help yourself, then everyone will help you. Principle 
of neighbor-love. 


Not to perpetrate cowardice against one's own acts! 
Not to leave them in the lurch afterward! The bite of 
conscience is indecent. 




Can an ass be tragic? To perish under a burden one 
can neither bear nor throw off? The case of the philoso- 


If we have our own why of life, we shall get along 
with almost any how. Man does not strive for pleasure; 
only the Englishman does. 


Man has created woman — out of what? Out of a rib 
of his god — of his "ideal." 


What? You search? You would multiply yourself by 
ten, by a hundred? You seek followers? Seek zeros! 


Posthumous men — I, for example — are understood 
worse than timely ones, but heard better. More pre- 
cisely: we are never understood — hence our authority. 


Among women: "Truth? Oh, you don't know truthl 
Is it not an attempt to assassinate all our pudeurs?" 


That is an artist as I love artists, modest in his needs: 
he really wants only two things, his bread and his art 
— panem et Circen. 1 

1 panem et circenses, "bread and circuses" — here changed 
by Nietzsche into "broad and Circe," art being compared 
to the Homeric sorceress. 



Whoever does not know how to lay his will into 
things, at least lays some meaning into them: that 
means, he has the faith that they already obey a will. 
(Principle of "faith.") 


What? You elected virtue and the swelled bosom and 
yet you leer enviously at the advantages of those with- 
out qualms? But virtue involves renouncing "advan- 
tages." (Inscription for an anti-Semite's door.) 


The perfect woman perpetrates literature as she per- 
petrates a small sin: as an experiment, in passing, look- 
ing around to see if anybody notices it — and to make 
sure that somebody does. 


To venture into all sorts of situations in which one 
may not have any sham virtues, where, like the tightrope 
walker on his rope, one either stands or falls — or gets 


"Evil men have no songs." How is it, then, that the 
Russians have songs? 


"German spirit": for the past eighteen years a contra- 
diction in terms. 




By searching out origins, one becomes a crab. Thi? 
historian looks backward; eventually he also believes 


Contentment protects even against colds. Has a 
woman who knew herself to be well dressed ever caught 
cold? I am assuming that she was barely dressed. 


I mistrust all systematizers and I avoid them. The will 
to a system is a lack of integrity. 


Women are considered profound. Why? Because one 
never fathoms their depths. Women aren't even shal- 


If a woman has manly virtues, one feels like running 
away; and if she has no manly virtues, she herself runs 


"How much conscience has had to chew on in the 
past! And what excellent teeth it had! And today — what 
is lacking?" A dentist's question. 


One rarely rushes into a single error. Rushing into 
the first one, one always does too much. So one usually 
perpetrates another one — and now one does too little. 




When stepped on, a worm doubles up. That is clever. 
In that way he lessens the probability of being stepped 
on again. In the language of morality: humility. 


There is a hatred of lies and simulation, stemming 
from an easily provoked sense of honor. There is an- 
other such hatred, from cowardice, since lies are for- 
bidden by a divine commandment. Too cowardly to lie. 


How little is required for pleasure! The sound of a 
bagpipe. Without music, life would be an error. The 
German imagines even God singing songs. 


On ne pent penser et ecrire qu'assis 1 (G. Flaubert). 
There I have caught you, nihilist! The sedentary life is 
the very sin against the Holy Spirit. Only thoughts 
reached by walking have value. 


There are cases in which we are like horses, we 
psychologists, and become restless: we see our own 
shadow wavering up and down before us. A psycholo- 
gist must turn his eyes from himself to eye anything at 


Whether we immoralists are harming virtue? Just as 
little as anarchists harm princes. Only since the latter 
1 "One cannot think and write, except sitting." 


are shot at do they again sit securely on their thrones. 

Moral: morality must be shot at. 


You run ahead? Are you doing it as a shepherd? Or 
as an exception? A third case would be the fugitive. 
First question of conscience. 


Are you genuine? Or merely an actor? A representa- 
tive? Or that which is represented? In the end, perhaps 
you are merely a copy of an actor. Second question of 


The disappointed one speaks. I searched for great 
human beings; I always found only the apes of their 


Are you one who looks on? Or one who lends a hand? 
Or one who looks away and walks off? Third question 
of conscience. 


Do you want to walk along? Or walk ahead? Or walk 
by yourself? One must know what one wants and that 
one wants. Fourth question of conscience. 


Those were steps for me, and I have climbed up over 
them: to that end I had to pass over them. Yet they 
thought that I wanted to retire on them. 




What does it matter if I remain right. I am much too 
right. And he who laughs best today will also laugh last. 


The formula of my happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight 
line, a goal. 


Concerning life, the wisest men of all ages have 
judged alike: it is no good. Always and everywhere one 
has heard the same sound from their mouths — a sound 
full of doubt, full of melancholy, full of weariness of life, 
full of resistance to life. Even Socrates said, as he died: 
"To live — that means to be sick a long time: I owe 
Asclepius the Savior a rooster." Even Socrates was tired 
of it. What does that evidence? What does it evince? 
Formerly one would have said ( — oh, it has been said, 
and loud enough, and especially by our pessimists): 
"At least something of all this must be true! The con- 
sensus of the sages evidences the truth." Shall we still 
talk like that today? May we? "At least something must 
be sick here," we retort. These wisest men of all ages — 
they should first be scrutinized closely. Were they all 
perhaps shaky on their legs? late? tottery? decadents? 
Could it be that wisdom appears on earth as a raven, 
inspired by a little whiff of carrion? 


This irreverent thought that the great sages are types 
of decline first occurred to me precisely in a case where 


it is most strongly opposed by both scholarly and un- 
scholarly prejudice: I recognized Socrates and Plato to 
be symptoms of degeneration, tools of the Greek disso- 
lution, pseudo-Greek, anti-Greek (Birth of Tragedy, 
1872). The consensus of the sages — I comprehended 
this ever more clearly — proves least of all that they were 
right in what they agreed on: it shows rather that they 
themselves, these wisest men, agreed in some physio- 
logical respect, and hence adopted the same negative 
attitude to life — had to adopt it. Judgments, judgments 
of value, concerning life, for it or against it, can, in the 
end, never be true: they have value only as symptoms, 
they are worthy of consideration only as symptoms; in 
themselves such judgments are stupidities. One must by 
all means stretch out one's fingers and make the attempt 
to grasp this amazing finesse, tliat the value of life can- 
not be estimated. Not by the living, for they are an in- 
terested parry, even a bone of contention, and not 
judges; not by the dead, for a different reason. For a 
philosopher to see a problem in the value of life is thus 
an objection to him, a question mark concerning his 
wisdom, an un-wisdom. Indeed? All these great wise 
men — they were not only decadents but not wise at 
all? But I return to the problem of Socrates. 


In origin, Socrates belonged to the lowest class: Soc- 
rates was plebs. We know, we can still see for ourselves, 
how ugly he was. But ugliness, in itself an objection, is 
among the Greeks almost a refutation. Was Socrates a 
Greek at all? Ugliness is often enough the expression of 
n development that has been crossed, thwarted by cross- 
ing. Or it appears as declining development. The anthro- 
pologists among the criminologists tell us that the 

typical criminal is ugly: monstntm in f route, monstrum 
in animo. But the criminal is a decadent. Was Socrates 
a typical criminal? At least that would not be contra- 
dicted by the famous judgment of the physiognomist 
which sounded so offensive to the friends of Socrates. 
A foreigner who knew about faces once passed through 
Athens and told Socrates to his face that he was a mon- 
strum — that he harbored in himself all the bad vices 
and appetites. And Socrates merely answered: "You 
know me, sir!" 


Socrates' decadence is suggested not only by the ad- 
mitted wantonness and anarchy of his instincts, but 
also by the hypertrophy of the iogical faculty and that 
sarcasm of the rachitic which distinguishes him. Nor 
should we forget those auditory hallucinations which, 
as "the daimonion of Socrates," have been interpreted 
religiously. Everything in him is exaggerated, buffo, a 
caricature; everything is at the same time concealed, 
ulterior, subterranean. I seek to comprehend what idio- 
syncrasy begot that Socratic equation of reason, virtue, 
and happiness: that most bizarre of all equations, which, 
moreover, is opposed to all the instincts of the earlier 


With Socrates, Greek taste changes in favor of dia- 
lectics. What really happened there? Above all, a noble 
taste is thus vanquished; with dialectics the plebs come 
to the top. Before Socrates, dialectic manners were re- 
pudiated in good society: they were considered bad 
manners, they were compromising. The young were 
warned against them. Furthermore, all such presenta- 


tions of one's reasons were distrusted. Honest things, 
like honest men, do not carry their reasons in their hands 
like that. It is indecent to show all five fingers. What 
must first be proved is worth little. Wherever authority 
still forms part of good bearing, where one does not give 
reasons but commands, the dialectician is a kind of 
buffoon: one laughs at him, one does not take him se- 
riously. Socrates was the buffoon who got himself taken 
seriously: what really happened there? 


One chooses dialectic only when one has no other 
means. One knows that one arouses mistrust with it, 
that it is not very persuasive. Nothing is easier to erase 
than a dialectical effect: the experience of every meeting 
at which there are speeches proves this. It can only be 
self-defense for those who no longer have other weap- 
ons. One must have to enforce one's right: until one 
reaches that point, one makes no use of it. The Jews 
were dialecticians for that reason; Reynard the Fox 
was one — and Socrates too? 


Is the irony of Socrates an expression of revolt? Of 
plebeian ressentiment? Does he, as one oppressed, en- 
joy his own ferocity in the knife-thrusts of his syllogisms? 
Does he avenge himself on the noble people whom he 
fascinates? As a dialectician, one holds a merciless tool 
in one's hand; one can become a tyrant by means of it; 
one compromises those one conquers. The dialectician 
leaves it to his opponent to prove that he is no idiot: he 
makes one furious and helpless at the same time. The 
dialectician renders the intellect of his opponent power- 
less. Indeed? Is dialectic only a form of revenge in 




I have given to understand how it was that Socrates 
could repel: it is therefore all the more necessary to 
explain his fascination. That he discovered a new kind 
of agon, 1 that he became its first fencing master for the 
noble circles of Athens, is one point. He fascinated by 
appealing to the agonistic impulse of the Greeks — he 
introduced a variation into the wrestling match between 
young men and youths. Socrates was also a great erotic. 


But Socrates guessed even more. He saw through his 
noble Athenians; he comprehended that his own case, 
his idiosyncrasy, was no longer exceptional. The same 
kind of degeneration was quietly developing every- 
where: old Athens was coming to an end. And Socrates 
understood that all the world needed him — his means, 
his cure, his personal artifice of self-preservation. Every- 
where the instincts were in anarchy; everywhere one 
was within five paces of excess: monstrum in animo was 
the general danger. "The impulses want to play the ty- 
rant; one must invent a counter-tyrant who is stronger." 
When the physiognomist had revealed to Socrates who 
he was — a cave of bad appetites — the great master of 
irony let slip another word which is the key to his 
character. "This is true," he said, "but I mastered them 
all." How did Socrates become master over himself? 
His case was, at bottom, merely the extreme case, only 
the most striking instance of what was then beginning 
to be a universal distress: no one was any longer master 
over himself, the instincts turned against each other. 
He fascinated, being this extreme case; his awe-inspiring 
ugliness proclaimed him as such to all who could see: 

1 "Contest." 


he fascinated, of course, even more as an answer, a solu- 
tion, an apparent cure of this case. 


WTien one finds it necessary to turn reason into a 
tyrant, as Socrates did, the danger cannot be slight that 
something else will play the tyrant. Rationality was then 
hit upon as the savior; neither Socrates nor his "patients" 
had any choice about being rational: it was de rigeur, 
it was their last resort. The fanaticism with which all 
Creek reflection throws itself upon rationality betrays 
a desperate situation; there was danger, there was but 
one choice: either to perish or — to be absurdly rational. 
The moralism of the Greek philosophers from Plato on is 
pathologically conditioned; so is their esteem of dia- 
lectics. Reason-virture-happiness, that means merely 
that one must imitate Socrates and counter the dark 
appetites with a permanent daylight — the daylight of 
reason. One must be clever, clear, bright at any price: 
any concession to the instincts, to the unconscious, leads 


I have given to understand how it was that Socrates 
fascinated: he seemed to be a physician, a savior. Is 
it necessary to go on to demonstrate the error in his 
faith in "rationality at any price"? It is a self-deception 
on the part of philosophers and moralists if they believe 
that they are extricating themselves from decadence 
when they merely wage war against it. Extrication lies 
beyond their strength: what they choose as a means, 
as salvation, is itself but another expression of deca- 
dence; they change its expression, but they do not get 
rid of decadence itself. Socrates was a misunderstand- 
ing; the whole improvement-morality, including the 


Christian, was a misunderstanding. The most blinding 
daylight; rationality at any price; life, bright, cold, 
cautious, conscious, without instinct, in opposition to the 
instincts — all this too was a mere disease, another dis- 
ease, and by no means a return to "virtue," to "health," 
to happiness. To have to fight the instincts — that is the 
formula of decadence: as long as life is ascending, hap- 
piness equals instinct. 


Did he himself still comprehend this, this most bril- 
liant of all self-outwitters? Was this what he said to 
himself in the end, in the wisdom of his courage to die? 
Socrates wanted to die: not Athens, but he himself 
chose the hemlock; he forced Athens to sentence him. 
"Socrates is no physician," he said softly to himself; 
"here death alone is the physician. Socrates himself has 
merely been sick a long time." 

"reason" in philosophy 

You ask me which of the philosophers' traits are really 
idiosyncrasies? For example, their lack of historical 
sense, their hatred of the very idea of becoming, their 
Egypticism. They think that they show their respect for 
a subject when they de-historicize it, sub specie aeterni 
— when they turn it into a mummy. All that philoso- 
phers have handled for thousands of years have been 
concept-mummies; nothing real escaped their grasp 
alive. When these honorable idolators of concepts wor- 
ship something, they kill it and stuff it; they threaten 
the life of everything they worship. Death, change, old 
age, as well as procreation and growth, are to their 
minds objections — even refutations. Whatever has being 


does not become; whatever becomes does not have 
being. Now they all believe, desperately even, in what 
has being. But since they never grasp it, they seek for 
reasons why it is kept from them. "There must be mere 
appearance, there must be some deception which pre- 
vents us from perceiving that which has being: where 
is the deceiver?" 

"We have found him," they cry ecstatically; "it is the 
senses! These senses, which are so immoral in other 
ways too, deceive us concerning the true world. Moral: 
let us free ourselves from the deception of the senses, 
from becoming, from history, from lies; history is noth- 
ing but faith in the senses, faith in lies. Moral: let us say 
No to all who have faith in the senses, to all the rest of 
mankind; they are all 'mob.' Let us be philosophersl 
Let us be mummies! Let us represent monotono-theism 
by adopting the expression of a gravediggerl And above 
all, away with the body, this wretched idee fixe of the 
senses, disfigured by all the fallacies of logic, refuted, 
even impossible, although it is impudent enough to 
behave as if it were real!" 


With the highest respect, I except the name of 
Heraclitus. When the rest of the philosophic folk re- 
jected the testimony of the senses because they showed 
multiplicity and change, he rejected their testimony 
because they showed things as if they had permanence 
and unity. Heraclitus too did the senses an injustice. 
They lie neither in the way the Eleatics believed, nor as 
he believed — they do not lie at all. What we make of 
their testimony, that alone introduces lies; for example, 
the lie of unity, the lie of thinghood, of substance, of 
permanence. "Reason" is the cause of our falsification 
of the testimony of the senses. Insofar as the senses 

show becoming, passing away, and change, they do 
not lie. But Heraclitus will remain eternally right with 
his assertion that being is an empty fiction. The "ap- 
parent" world is the only one: the "true" world is merely 
added by a lie. 


And what magnificent instruments of observation we 
possess in our sensesl This nose, for example, of which 
no philosopher has yet spoken with reverence and 
gratitude, is actually the most delicate instrument so 
far at our disposal: it is able to detect minimal differ- 
ences of motion which even a spectroscope cannot de- 
tect. Today we possess science precisely to the extent 
to which we have decided to accept the testimony of 
the senses — to the extent to which we sharpen them 
further, arm them, and have learned to think them 
through. The rest is miscarriage and not-yet-science — 
in other words, metaphysics, theology, psychology, epis- 
temology — or formal science, a doctrine of signs, such 
as logic and that applied logic which is called mathe- 
matics. In them reality is not encountered at all, not 
even as a problem — no more than the question of the 
value of such a sign-convention as logic. 


The other idiosyncrasy of the philosophers is no less 
dangerous; it consists in confusing the last and the first. 
They place that which comes at the end — unfortunatelyl 
for it ought not to come at all! — namely, the "highest 
concepts," which means the most general, the emptiest 
concepts, the last smoke of evaporating reality, in the 
beginning, as the beginning. This again is nothing but 
their way of showing reverence: the higher may not 
grow out of the lower, may not have grown at all. 


Moral: whatever is of the first rank must be causa sui. 1 
Origin out of something else is considered an objection, 
a questioning of value. All the highest values are of the 
first rank; all the highest concepts, that which has being, 
the unconditional, the good, the true, the perfect — all 
these cannot have become and must therefore be causa 
sui. All these, moreover, cannot be unlike each other or 
in contradiction to each other. Thus they arrive at their 
stupendous concept, "God." That which is last, thinnest, 
and emptiest is put first, as the cause, as ens realissi- 
mum. 2 Why did mankind have to take seriously the 
brain afflictions of sick web-spinners? They have paid 
dearly for itl 


At long last, let us contrast the very different manner 
in which we conceive the problem of error and appear- 
ance. (I say "we" for politeness' sake.) Formerly, alter- 
ation, change, any becoming at all, were taken as 
proof of mere appearance, as an indication that there 
must be something which led us astray. Today, con- 
versely, precisely insofar as the prejudice of reason forces 
us to posit unity, identity, permanence, substance, cause, 
thinghood, being, we see ourselves somehow caught in 
error, compelled into error. So certain are we, on the 
basis of rigorous examination, that this is where the error 

It is no different in this case than with the move- 
ment of the sun: there our eye is the constant advocate 
of error, here it is our language. In its origin language 
belongs in the age of the most rudimentary form of psy- 
chology. We enter a realm of crude fetishism when we 
summon before consciousness the basic presuppositions 

1 "Self -caused." 

1 "The most real being." 

of the metaphysics of language, in plain talk, the pre- 
suppositions of reason. Everywhere it sees a doer and 
doing; it believes in will as the cause; it believes in the 
ego, in the ego as being, in the ego as substance, and it 
projects this faith in the ego-substance upon all things — 
only thereby does it first create the concept of "thing." 
Everywhere "being" is projected by thought, pushed 
underneath, as the cause; the concept of being follows, 
and is a derivative of, the concept of ego. In the be- 
ginning there is that great calamity of an error that the 
will is something which is effective, that will is a ca- 
pacity. Today we know that it is only a word. 

Very much later, in a world which was in a thousand 
ways more enlightened, philosophers, to their great sur- 
prise, became aware of the sureness, the subjective cer- 
tainty, in our handling of the categories of reason: they 
concluded that these categories could not be derived 
from anything empirical — for everything empirical 
plainly contradicted them. Whence, then, were they de- 

And in India, as in Greece, the same mistake was 
made: "We must once have been at home in a higher 
world (instead of a very much lower one, which would 
have been the truth) ; we must have been divine, for we 
have reason!" Indeed, nothing has yet possessed a more 
naive power of persuasion than the error concerning 
being, as it has been formulated by the Eleatics, for ex- 
ample. After all, every word we say and every sentence 
speak in its favor. Even the opponents of the Eleatics 
still succumbed to the seduction of their concept of 
being: Democritus, among others, when he invented his 
atom. "Reason" in language — oh, what an old deceptive 
female she is! I am afraid we are not rid of God because 
we still have faith in grammar. 



It will be appreciated if I condense so essential and so 
new an insight into four theses. In that way I facilitate 
comprehension; in that way I provoke contradiction. 

First proposition. The reasons for which "this" world 
has been characterized as "apparent" are the very rea- 
sons which indicate its reality; any other kind of reality 
is absolutely indemonstrable. 

Second proposition. The criteria which have been be- 
stowed on the "true being" of things are the criteria of 
not-being, of naught; the "true world" has been con- 
structed out of contradiction to the actual world: indeed 
an apparent world, insofar as it is merely a moral-optical 

Third proposition. To invent fables about a world 
"other" than this one has no meaning at all, unless an 
instinct of slander, detraction, and suspicion against life 
has gained the upper hand in us: in that case, we avenge 
ourselves against life with a phantasmagoria of "an- 
other," a "better" life. 

Fourth proposition. Any distinction between a "true" 
and an "apparent" world — whether in the Christian 
manner or in the manner of Kant (in the end, an under- 
handed Christian) — is only a suggestion of decadence, a 
symptom of the decline of life. That the artist esteems 
appearance higher than reality is no objection to this 
proposition. For "appearance" in this case means reality 
once more, only by way of selection, reinforcement, and 
correction. The tragic artist is no pessimist: he is pre- 
cisely the one who says Yes to everything questionable, 
even to the terrible — he is Dionysian. 



The History of an Error 

1. The true world — attainable for the sage, the pious, 
the virtuous man; he lives in it, he is it. 

(The oldest form of the idea, relatively sensible, sim- 
ple, and persuasive. A circumlocution for the sentence, 
"I, Plato, am the truth.") 

2. The true world — unattainable for now, but prom- 
ised for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man ("for the 
sinner who repents"). 

(Progress of the idea: it becomes more subtle, insid- 
ious, incomprehensible — it becomes female, it becomes 

3. The true world — unattainable, indemonstrable, 
unpromisable; but the very thought of it — a consola- 
tion, an obligation, an imperative. 

(At bottom, the old sun, but seen through mist and 
skepticism. The idea has become elusive, pale, Nordic, 
Konigsbergian. 1 ) 

4. The true world — unattainable? At any rate, un- 
attained. And being unattained, also unknown. Conse- 
quently, not consoling, redeeming, or obligating: how 
could something unknown obligate us? 

(Gray morning. The first yawn of reason. The cock- 
crow of positivism.) 

5. The "true" world — an idea which is no longer 
good for anything, not even obligating — an idea which 
has become useless and superfluous — consequently, a 
refuted idea: let us abolish itl 

( Bright day; breakfast; return of bon sens and cheer- 

1 That is, Kantian. 


fulness; Plato's embarrassed blush; pandemonium of all 
free spirits.) 

6. The true world — we have abolished. What world 
has remained? The apparent one perhaps? But nol With 
the true world we have also abolished the apparent one. 

(Noon; moment of the briefest shadow; end of the 
longest error; high point of humanity; INCIPIT ZARA- 


All passions have a phase when they are merely dis- 
astrous, when they drag down their victim with the 
weight of stupidity — and a later, very much later phase 
when they wed the spirit, when they "spiritualize" them- 
selves. Formerly, in view of the element of stupidity in 
passion, war was declared on passion itself, its destruc- 
tion was plotted; all the old moral monsters are agreed 
on this: il faut tuer les passions. 2 The most famous for- 
mula for this is to be found in the New Testament, in 
that Sermon on the Mount, where, incidentally, things 
are by no means looked at from a height. There it is said, 
for example, with particular reference to sexuality: "If 
thy eye offend thee, pluck it out." Fortunately, no Chris- 
tian acts in accordance with this precept. Destroying 
the passions and cravings, merely as a preventive meas- 
ure against their stupidity and the unpleasant conse- 
quences of this stupidity — today this itself strikes us as 

1 "Zarathustra begins." An echo of the conclusion of The 
Cay Science ( 1882 ) : Nietzsche had used the first section 
of the Prologue of Zarathustra, his next work, as the final 
aphorism of Book Four, and given it the title: Incipit 

' "One must kill the passions." 

merely another acute form of stupidity. We no longer 
admire dentists who "pluck out" teeth so that they will 
not hurt any more. 

To be fair, it should be admitted, however, that on 
the ground out of which Christianity grew, the concept 
of the "spiritualization of passion" could never have been 
formed. After all the first church, as is well known, 
fought against the "intelligent" in favor of the "poor in 
spirit." How could one expect from it an intelligent war 
against passion? The church fights passion with excision 
in every sense: its practice, its "cure," is castratism. It 
never asks: "How can one spiritualize, beautify, deify a 
craving?" It has at all times laid the stress of discipline 
on extirpation (of sensuality, of pride, of the lust to rule, 
of avarice, of vengefulness). But an attack on the roots 
of passion means an attack on the roots of life: the prac- 
tice of the church is hostile to life. 


The same means in the fight against a craving — cas- 
tration, extirpation — is instinctively chosen by those who 
are too weak-willed, too degenerate, to be able to im- 
pose moderation on themselves; by those who are so 
constituted that they require La Trappe, 1 to use a figure 
of speech, or (without any figure of speech) some kind 
of definitive declaration of hostility, a cleft between 
themselves and the passion. Radical means are indis- 
pensable only for the degenerate; the weakness of the 
will — or, to speak more definitely, the inability not to 
respond to a stimulus — is itself merely another form of 
degeneration. The radical hostility, the deadly hostility 
against sensuality, is always a symptom to reflect on: it 
entitles us to suppositions concerning the total state of 
one who is excessive in this manner. 
1 The Trappist Order. 


This hostility, this hatred, by the way, reaches its 
climax only when such types lack even the firmness for 
this radical cure, for this renunciation of their "devil." 
One should survey the whole history of the priests and 
philosophers, including the artists: the most poisonous 
things against the senses have been said not by the 
impotent, nor by ascetics, but by the impossible ascetics, 
by those who really were in dire need of being ascetics. 


The spiritualization of sensuality is called love: it 
represents a great triumph over Christianity. Another 
triumph is our spiritualization of hostility. It consists in 
a profound appreciation of the value of having enemies: 
in short, it means acting and thinking in the opposite 
way from that which has been the rule. The church al- 
ways wanted the destruction of its enemies; we, we 
immoralists and Antichristians, find our advantage in 
this, that the church exists. In the political realm too, 
hostility has now become more spiritual — much more 
sensible, much more thoughtful, much more considerate. 
Almost every party understands how it is in the interest 
of its own self-preservation that the opposition should 
not lose all strength; the same is true of ppwer politics. 
A new creation in particular — the new Reich, for ex- 
ample — needs enemies more than friends: in opposition 
alone does it feel itself necessary, in opposition alone 
does it become necessary. 

Our attitude to the "internal enemy" is no different: 
here too we have spiritualized hostility; here too we 
have come to appreciate its value. The price of fruit- 
fulness is to be rich in internal opposition; one remains 
young only as long as the soul does not stretch itself 
and desire peace. Nothing has become more alien to 
us than that desideratum of former times, "peace of 

soul," the Christian desideratum; there is nothing we 
envy less than the moralistic cow and the fat happiness 
of the good conscience. One has renounced the great 
life when one renounces war. 

In many cases, to be sure, "peace of soul" is merely 
a misunderstanding — something else, which lacks only a 
more honest name. Without further ado or prejudice, a 
few examples. "Peace of soul" can be, for one, the gentle 
radiation of a rich animality into the moral (or religious) 
sphere. Or the beginning of weariness, the first shadow 
of evening, of any kind of evening. Or a sign that the 
air is humid, that south winds are approaching. Or un- 
recognized gratitude for a good digestion (sometimes 
called "love of man"). Or the attainment of calm by a 
convalescent who feels a new relish in all things and 
waits. Or the state which follows a thorough satisfaction 
of our dominant passion, the well-being of a rare reple- 
tion. Or the senile weakness of our will, our cravings, our 
vices. Or laziness, persuaded by vanity to give itself 
moral airs. Or the emergence of certainty, even a dread- 
ful certainty, after long tension and torture by un- 
certainty. Or the expression of maturity and mastery in 
the midst of doing, creating, working, and willing — calm 
breathing, attained "freedom of the will." Twilight of 
the Idols — who knows? perhaps also only a kind of 
"peace of soul." 


I reduce a principle to a formula. Every naturalism in 
morality — that is, every healthy morality — is dominated 
by an instinct of life; some commandment of life is ful- 
filled by a determinate canon of "shalt" and "shalt not"; 
some inhibition and hostile element on the path of life is 
thus removed. Anti-natural morality — that is, almost 
every morality which has so far been taught, revered, 


and preached — turns, conversely, against the instincts 
of life: it is condemnation of these instincts, now secret, 
now outspoken and impudent. When it says, "God looks 
at the heart," it says No to both the lowest and the 
highest desires of life, and posits God as the enemy of 
life. The saint in whom God delights is the ideal eunuch. 
Life has come to an end where the "kingdom of God" 


Once one has comprehended the outrage of such a 
revolt against life as has become almost sacrosanct in 
Christian morality, one has, fortunately, also compre- 
hended something else: the futility, apparentness, ab- 
surdity, and mendaciousness of such a revolt. A con- 
demnation of life by the living remains in the end a 
mere symptom of a certain kind of life: the question 
whether it is justified or unjustified is not even raised 
thereby. One would require a position outside of life, 
and yet have to know it as well as one, as many, as all 
who have lived it, in order to be permitted even to 
touch the problem of the value of life: reasons enough 
to comprehend that this problem is for us an unap- 
proachable problem. When we speak of values, we 
speak with the inspiration, with the way of looking at 
things, which is part of life: life itself forces us to posit 
values; life itself values through us when we posit 
values. From this it follows that even that anti-natural 
morality which conceives of God as the counter-concept 
and condemnation of life is only a value judgment of 
life — but of what life? of what kind of life? I have al- 
ready given the answer: of declining, weakened, weary, 
condemned life. Morality, as it has so far been under- 
stood — as it has in the end been formulated once more 
by Schopenhauer, as "negation of the will to life" — is 

the very instinct of decadence, which makes an impera- 
tive of itself. It says: "Perish!" It is a condemnation pro- 
nounced by the condemned. 


Let us finally consider how naive it is altogether to 
say: "Man ought to be such and such!" Reality shows us 
an enchanting wealth of types, the abundance of a 
lavish play and change of forms — and some wretched 
loafer of a moralist comments: "No! Man ought to be 
different." He even knows what man should be like, this 
wretched bigot and prig: he paints himself on the wall 
and comments, "Ecce homo!" But even when the moral- 
ist addresses himself only to the single human being and 
says to him, "You ought to be such and such!" he does 
not cease to make himself ridiculous. The single human 
being is a piece of fatum from the front and from the 
rear, one law more, one necessity more for all that is 
yet to come and to be. To say to him, "Change yourself!" 
is to demand that everything be changed, even retro- 
actively. And indeed there have been consistent moral- 
ists who wanted man to be different, that is, virtuous — 
they wanted him remade in their own image, as a prig: 
to that end, they negated the world! No small madness! 
No modest kind of immodesty! 

Morality, insofar as it condemns for its own sake, and 
not out of regard for the concerns, considerations, and 
contrivances of life, is a specific error with which one 
ought to have no pity — an idiosyncrasy of degenerates 
which has caused immeasurable harm. 

We others, we immoralists, have, conversely, made 
room in our hearts for every kind of understanding, 
comprehending, and approving. We do not easily ne- 
gate; we make it a point of honor to be affirmers. More 
and more, our eyes have opened to that economy which 


needs and knows how to utilize all that the holy wit- 
lessness of the priest, of the diseased reason in the priest, 
rejects — that economy in the law of life which finds an 
advantage even in the disgusting species of the prigs, 
the priests, the virtuous. What advantage? But we our- 
selves, we immoralists, are the answer. 


The error of confusing cause and effect. There is no 
more dangerous error than that of mistaking the effect 
for the cause: I call it the real corruption of reason. Yet 
this error belongs among the most ancient and recent 
habits of mankind: it is even hallowed among us and 
goes by the name of "religion" or "morality." Every 
single sentence which religion and morality formulate 
contains it; priests and legislators of moral codes are 
the originators of this corruption of reason. 

I give an example. Everybody knows the book of the 
famous Cornaro in which he recommends his slender 
diet as a recipe for a long and happy life — a virtuous 
one too. Few books have been read so much; even now 
thousands of copies are sold in England every year. I 
do not doubt that scarcely any book (except the Bible, 
as is meet) has done as much harm, has shortened as 
many lives, as this well-intentioned curiosum. The 
reason: the mistaking of the effect for the cause. The 
worthy Italian thought his diet was the cause of his long 
life, whereas the precondition for a long life, the ex- 
traordinary slowness of his metabolism, the consump- 
tion of so little, was the cause of his slender diet. He was 
not free to eat little or much; his frugality was not a mat- 
ter of "free will": he became sick when he ate more. But 
whoever is no carp not only does well to eat properly, 


but needs to. A scholar in our time, with his rapid con- 
sumption of nervous energy, would simply destroy him- 
self with Comaro's diet. Crede experto. 1 


The most general formula on which every religion 
;and morality is founded is: "Do this and that, refrain 
from this and that — then you will be happy! Otherwise 
. . Every morality, every religion, is this imperative; 
I call it the great original sin of reason, the immortal un- 
reason. In my mouth, this formula is changed into its 
•opposite — first example of my "revaluation of all val- 
ues": a well-turned-out human being, a "happy one," 
■must perform certain actions and shrinks instinctively 
from other actions; he carries the order, which he rep- 
resents physiologically, into his relations with other 
human beings and things. In a formula: his virtue is the 
effect of his happiness. A long life, many descendants — 
this is not the wages of virtue; rather virtue itself is 
that slowing down of the metabolism which leads, 
among other things, also to a long life, many descend- 
ants — in short, to Cornarism. 

The church and morality say: "A generation, a 
people, are destroyed by license and luxury." My re- 
covered reason says: when a people approaches destruc- 
tion, when it degenerates physiologically, then license 
and luxury follow from this (namely, the craving for 
ever stronger and more frequent stimulation, as every 
exhausted nature knows it). This young man turns pale 
early and wilts; his friends say: that is due to this or 
that disease. I say: that he became diseased, that he 
did not resist the disease, was already the effect of an 
impoverished life or hereditary exhaustion. The news- 
paper reader says: this party destroys itself by making 

1 "Believe him who has triedl" 


such a mistake. My higher politics says: a party which 
makes such mistakes has reached its end; it has lost its 
sureness of instinct. Every mistake in every sense is the 
effect of the degeneration of instinct, of the disintegra- 
tion of the will: one could almost define what is bad in 
this way. All that is good is instinct — and hence easy, 
necessary, free. Laboriousness is an objection; the god is 
typically different from the hero. (In my language: 
light feet are the first attribute of divinity.) 


The error of a false causality. People have believed at 
all times that they knew what a cause is; but whence did 
we take our knowledge — or more precisely, our faith 
that we had such knowledge? From the realm of the 
famous "inner facts," of which not a single one has so 
far proved to be factual. We believed ourselves to be 
causal in the act of willing: we thought that here at 
least we caught causality in the act. Nor did one doubt 
that all the antecedents of an act, its causes, were to be 
sought in consciousness and would be found there once 
sought — as "motives": else one would not have been 
free and responsible for it. Finally, who would have 
denied that a thought is caused? that the ego causes 
the thought? 

Of these three "inward facts" which seem to guaran- 
tee causality, the first and most persuasive is that of the 
will as cause. The conception of a consciousness 
("spirit") as a cause, and later also that of the ego as 
cause (the "subject"), are only afterbirths: first the 
causality of the will was firmly accepted as given, as 

Meanwhile we have thought better of it. Today we no 
longer believe a word of all this. The "inner world" is 
full of phantoms and will-o'-the-wisps: the will is one of 

them. The will no longer moves anything, hence does 
not explain anything either — it merely accompanies 
events; it can also be absent. The so-called motive: an- 
other error. Merely a surface phenomenon of conscious- 
ness, something alongside the deed that is more likely 
to cover up the antecedents of the deeds than to repre- 
sent them. And as for the ego! That has become a fable, 
a fiction, a play on words: it has altogether ceased to 
think, feel, or willl 

What follows from this? There are no mental causes at 
all. The whole of the allegedly empirical evidence for 
that has gone to the devil. That is what follows! And 
what a fine abuse we had perpetrated with this "empirical 
evidence"; we created the world on this basis as a world 
of causes, a world of will, a world of spirits. The most 
ancient and enduring psychology was at work here and 
did not do anything else: all that happened was consid- 
ered a doing, all doing the effect of a will; the world 
became to it a multiplicity of doers; a doer (a "sub- 
ject") was slipped under all that happened. It was out 
of himself that man projected his three "inner facts" — 
that in which he believed most firmly, the will, the 
spirit, the ego. He even took the concept of being from 
the concept of the ego; he posited "things" as "being," 
in his image, in accordance with his concept of the ego 
as a cause. Small wonder that later he always found in 
things only that which lie had put into them. The thing 
itself, to say it once more, the concept of thing is a mere 
reflex of the faith in the ego as cause. And even your 
atom, my dear mechanists and physicists — how much 
error, how much rudimentary psychology is still residual 
in your atom! Not to mention the "thing-in-itself," the 
tenendum pudendum of the metaphysicians! The error 
of the spirit as cause mistaken for reality! And made the 
very measure of reality! And called God! 



The error of imaginary causes. To begin with dreams: 
ex post facto, a cause is slipped under a particular sen- 
sation (for example, one following a far-off cannon shot) 
— often a whole little novel in which the dreamer turns 
up as the protagonist. The sensation endures meanwhile 
in a kind of resonance: it waits, as it were, until the 
causal instinct permits it to step into the foreground — 
now no longer as a chance occurrence, but as "meaning." 
The cannon shot appears in a causal mode, in an ap- 
parent reversal of time. What is really later, the moti- 
vation, is experienced first— often with a hundred de- 
tails which pass like lightning — and the shot follows. 
What has happened? The representations which were 
produced by a certain state have been misunderstood as 
its causes. 

In fact, we do the same thing when awake. Most of 
our general feelings — every kind of inhibition, pressure, 
tension, and explosion in the play and counterplay of 
our organs, and particularly the state of the nervus sym- 
pathicus — excite our causal instinct: we want to have 
a reason for feeling this way or that — for feeling bad or 
for feeling good. We are never satisfied merely to state 
the fact that we feel this way or that: we admit this fact 
only — become conscious of it only — when we have fur- 
nished some kind of motivation. Memory, which swings 
into action in such cases, unknown to us, brings up 
earlier states of the same kind, together with the causal 
interpretations associated with them — not their real 
cauaes. The faith, to be sure, that such representations, 
such accompanying conscious processes, are the causes, 
is also brought forth by memory. Thus originates a 
habitual acceptance of a particular causal interpreta- 


tion, which, as a matter of fact, inhibits any investiga- 
tion into the real cause — even precludes it. 


The psychological explanation of this. To derive 
something unknown from something familiar relieves, 
comforts, and satisfies, besides giving a feeling of power. 
With the unknown, one is confronted with danger, dis- 
comfort, and care; the first instinct is to abolish these 
painful states. First principle: any explanation is better 
than none. Since at bottom it is merely a matter of wish- 
ing to be rid of oppressive representations, one is not too 
particular about the means of getting rid of them: the 
first representation that explains the unknown as famil- 
iar feels so good that one "considers it true." The proof 
of pleasure ("of strength") as a criterion of truth. 

The causal instinct is thus conditional upon, and ex- 
cited by, the feeling of fear. The "why?" shall, if at all 
possible, not give the cause for its own sake so much as 
for a particular kind of cause — a cause that is comfort- 
ing, liberating, and relieving. That it is something already 
familiar, experienced, and inscribed in the memory, 
which is posited as a cause, 'that is the first consequence 
of this need. That which is new and strange and has 
not been experienced before, is excluded as a cause. 
Thus one searches not only for some kind of explanation 
to serve as a cause, but for a particularly selected and 
preferred kind of explanation — that which has most 
quickly and most frequently abolished the feeling of 
the strange, new, and hitherto unexperienced: the most 
habitual explanations. Consequence: one kind of posit- 
ing of causes predominates more and more, is concen- 
trated into a system, and finally emerges as dominant, 
that is, as simply precluding other causes and explana- 


tions. The banker immediately thinks of "business," the 

Christian of "sin," and the girl of her love. 


The whole realm of morality and religion belongs 
under this concept of imaginary causes. The "explana- 
tion" of disagreeable general feelings. They are pro- 
duced by beings that are hostile to us (evil spirits: the 
most famous case — the misunderstanding of the hyster- 
ical as witches). They are produced by acts which can- 
not be approved (the feeling of "sin," of "sinfulness," is 
slipped under a physiological discomfort; one always 
finds reasons for being dissatisfied with oneself). They 
are produced as punishments, as payment for something 
we should not have done, for what we should not have 
been (impudently generalized by Schopenhauer into a 
principle in which morality appears as what it really 
is — as the very poisoner and slanderer of life: "Every 
great pain, whether physical or spiritual, declares what 
we deserve; for it could not come to us if we did not 
deserve it." World as Will and Representation II, 666). 
They are produced as effects of ill-considered actions 
that turn out badly. (Here 'the affects, the senses, are 
posited as causes, as "guilty"; and physiological calam- 
ities are interpreted with the help of other calamities as 

The "explanation" of agreeable general feelings. They 
are produced by trust in God. They are produced by 
the consciousness of good deeds (the so-called "good 
conscience" — a physiological state which at times looks 
so much like good digestion that it is hard to tell them 
apart). They are produced by the successful termina- 
tion of some enterprise (a naive fallacy: the successful 
termination of some enterprise does not by any means 
give a hypochondriac or a Pascal agreeable general 

feelings). They are produced by faith, charity, and hope 
— the Christian virtues. 

In truth, all these supposed explanations are result- 
ant states and, as it were, translations of pleasurable or 
unpleasurable feelings into a false dialect: one is in a 
state of hope because the basic physiological feeling is 
once again strong and rich; one trusts in^od because 
the feeling of fullness and strength gives a sense of rest. 
Morality and religion belong altogether to the psychol- 
ogy of error: in every single case, cause and effect are 
confused; or truth is confused with the effects of be- 
lieving something to be true; or a state of consciousness 
is confused with its causes. 


The error of free will. Today we no longer have any 
pity for the concept of "free will": we know only too 
well what it really is — the foulest of all theologians' 
artifices, aimed at making mankind "responsible" in 
their sense, that is, dependent upon them. Here I simply 
supply the psychology of all "making responsible." 

Wherever responsibilities are sought, it is usually the 
instinct of wanting to judge and punish which is at work. 
Becoming has been deprived of its innocence when any 
being-such-and-such is traced back to will, to purposes, 
to acts of responsibility: the doctrine of the will has 
been invented essentially for the purpose of punishment, 
that is, because one wanted to impute guilt. The entire 
old psychology, the psychology of will, was conditioned 
by the fact that its originators, the priests at the head 
of ancient communities, wanted to create for themselves 
the right to punish — or wanted to create this right for 
God. Men were considered "free" so that they might be 
judged and punished — so that they might become 
guilty: consequently, every act had to be considered as 


willed, and the origin of every act had to be considered 
as lying within the consciousness (and thus the most 
fundamental counterfeit in psychologies was made the 
principle of psychology itself). 

Today, as we have entered into the reverse movement 
and we immoralists are trying with all our strength to 
take the concept of guilt and the concept of punishment 
out of the world again, and to cleanse psychology, his- 
tory, nature, and social institutions and sanctions of 
them, there is in our . eyes no more radical opposition 
than that of the theologians, who continue with the 
concept of a "moral world-order" to infect the innocence 
of becoming by means of "punishment" and "guilt." 
Christianity is a metaphysics of the hangman. 


What alone can be our doctrine? That no one gives 
man his qualities — neither God, nor society, nor his 
parents and ancestors, nor he himself. (The nonsense of 
the last idea was taught as "intelligible freedom" by 
Kant — perhaps by Plato already. ) No one is responsible 
for man's being there at all, for his being such-and-such, 
or for his being in these circumstances or in this en- 
vironment. The fatality of his essence is not to be dis- 
entangled from the fatality of all that has been and 
■will be. Man is not the effect of some special purpose, 
of a will, and end; nor is he the object of an attempt to 
attain an "ideal of humanity" or an "ideal of happiness" 
or an "ideal of morality." It is absurd to wish to devolve 
one's essence on some end or other. We have invented 
the concept of "end": in reality there is no end. 

One is necessary, one is a piece of fatefulness, one 
belongs to the whole, one is in the whole; there is 
nothing which could judge, measure, compare, or sen- 
tence our being, for that would mean judging, measur- 

ing, comparing, or sentencing the whole. But there is 
nothing besides the whole. That nobody is held re- 
sponsible any longer, that the mode of being may not 
be traced back to a causa prima, that the world does 
not form a unity either as a sensorium or as "spirit" — 
that alone is the great liberation; with this alone is the 
innocence of becoming restored. The concept of "God" 
was until now the greatest objection to existence. We 
deny God, we deny the responsibility in God: only 
thereby do we redeem the world. 


My demand upon the philosopher is known, that he 
take his stand beyond good and evil and leave the illu- 
sion of moral judgment beneath himself. This demand 
follows from an insight which I was the first to formu- 
late: that there are altogether no moral facts. Moral 
judgments agree with religious ones in believing in 
realities which are no realities. Morality is merely an 
interpretation of certain phenomena — more precisely, 
a misinterpretation. Moral judgments, like religious ones, 
belong to a stage of ignorance at which the very concept 
of the real and the distinction between what is real and 
imaginary, are still lacking; thus "truth," at this stage, 
designates all sorts of things which we today call "imag- 
inings." Moral judgments are therefore never to be taken 
literally: so understood, they always contain mere ab- 
surdity. Semeiotically, however, they remain invaluable: 
they reveal, at least for those who know, the most valu- 
able realities of cultures and inwardnesses which did 
not know enough to "understand" themselves. Morality 
is mere sign language, mere symptomatology: one must 
know what it is all about to be able to profit from it. 




A first example, quite provisional. At all times they 
have wanted to "improve" men: this above all was 
called morality. Under the same word, however, the 
most divergent tendencies are concealed. Both the tam- 
ing of the beast, man, and the breeding of a particular 
kind of man have been called "improvement." Such 
zoological terms are required to express the realities — 
realities, to be sure, of which the typical "improver," the 
priest, neither knows anything, nor wants to know any- 

To call the taming of an animal its "improvement" 
sounds almost like a joke to our ears. Whoever knows 
what goes on in menageries doubts that the beasts are 
"improved" there. They are weakened, they are made 
less harmful, and through the depressive effect of fear, 
through pain, through wounds, and through hunger they 
become sickly beasts. It is no different with the tamed 
man whom the priest has "improved." In the early Mid- 
dle Ages, when the church was indeed, above all, a 
menagerie, the most beautiful specimens of the "blond 
beast" were hunted down everywhere; and the noble 
Teutons, for example, were "improved." But how did 
such an "improved" Teuton who had been seduced into 
a monastery look afterward? Like a caricature of man, 
like a miscarriage: he had become a "sinner," he was 
stuck in a cage, imprisoned among all sorts of terrible 
concepts. And there he lay, sick, miserable, malevolent 
against himself: full of hatred against the springs of 
life, full of suspicion against all that was still strong 
and happy. In short, a "Christian." 

Physiologically speaking: in the struggle with beasts, 
to make them sick may be the only means for making 
them weak. This the church understood: it ruined man, 

it weakened him — but it claimed to have "improved" 


Let us consider the other case of so-called morality, 
the case of breeding a particular race and kind. The 
lriost magnificent example of this is furnished by Indian 
morality, sanctioned as religion in the form of "the law 
of Manu." Here the task set is to breed no less than 
four races at once: one priestly, one warlike, one for 
trade and agriculture, and finally a race of servants, the 
Sudras. Obviously, we are here no longer among animal 
tamers: a kind of man that is a hundred times milder 
and more reasonable is the condition for even conceiv- 
ing such a plan of breeding. One heaves a sigh of relief 
at leaving the Christian atmosphere of disease and dun- 
geons for this healthier, higher, and wider world. How 
wretched is the New Testament compared to Manu, 
how foul it smells! 

Yet this organization too found it necessary to be 
terrible — this time not in the struggle with beasts, but 
with their counter-concept, the unbred man, the mish- 
mash man, the chandala. And again it had no other 
means for keeping him from being dangerous, for mak- 
ing him weak, than to make him sick — it was the fight 
with the "great number." Perhaps there is nothing that 
contradicts our feeling more than these protective meas- 
ures of Indian morality. The third edict, for example 
(Avadana-Sastra I), "on impure vegetables," ordains 
that the only nourishment permitted to the chandala 
shall be garlic and onions, seeing that the holy scripture 
prohibits giving them grain or fruit with grains, or 
water or fire. The same edict orders that the water they 
need may not be taken from rivers or wells, nor from 
ponds, but only from the approaches to swamps and 


from holes made by the footsteps of animals. They are 
also prohibited from washing their laundry and from 
washing themselves, since the water they are conceded 
as an act of grace may be used only to quench thirst. 
Finally, a prohibition that Sudra women may not assist 
chandala women in childbirth, and a prohibition that 
the latter may not assist each other in this condition. 

The success of such sanitary police measures was 
inevitable: murderous epidemics, ghastly venereal dis- 
eases, and thereupon again "the law of the knife," 
ordaining circumcision for male children and the re- 
moval of the internal labia for female children. Manu 
himself says: "The chandalas are the fruit of adultery, 
incest, and crime (these, the necessary consequences of 
the concept of breeding). For clothing they shall have 
only rags from corpses; for dishes, broken pots; for 
adornment, old iron; for divine services, only evil spirits. 
They shall wander without rest from place to place. 
They are prohibited from writing from left to right, 
and from using the right hand in writing: the use of the 
right hand and of from-left-to-right is reserved for the 
virtuous, for the people of race" 


These regulations are instructive enough: here we 
encounter for once Aryan humanity, quite pure, quite 
primordial — we leam that the concept of "pure blood" 
is the opposite of a harmless concept. On the other hand, 
it becomes clear in which people the hatred, the chan- 
dala hatred, against this "humaneness" has eternalized 
itself, where it has become religion, where it has be- 
come genius. Seen in this perspective, the Gospels rep- 
resent a document of prime importance; even more, the 
Book of Enoch. Christianity, sprung from Jewish roots 
and comprehensible only as a growth on this soil, rep- 

resents the counter-movement to any morality of breed- 
ing, of race, of privilege: it is the anti-Aryan religion 
par excellence. Christianity — the revaluation of all 
Aryan values, the victory of chandala values, the gospel 
preached to the poor and base, the general revolt of all 
the downtrodden, the wretched, the failures, the less 
favored, against "race": the undying chandala hatred 
as the religion of love. 


The morality of breeding and the morality of taming 
are, in the means diey use, entirely worthy of each 
other: we may proclaim it as the supreme principle 
that, to make morality, one must have the unconditional, 
will to its opposite. This is the great, the uncanny 
problem which I have been pursuing the longest: the 
psychology of the "improvers" of mankind. A small, and 
at bottom modest, fact — that of the so-called pia fraus 1 
— offered me the first approach to this problem: the 
pia fraus, the heirloom of all philosophers and priests 
who "improved" mankind. Neither Manu nor Plato nor 
Confucius nor the Jewish and Christian teachers have 
ever doubted their right to lie. They have not doubted 
that they had very different rights too. Expressed in a 
formula, one might say: all the means by which one 
has so far attempted to make mankind moral were 
through and through immoral. 


Among Germans today it is not enough to have 
spirit: one must arrogate it, one must have the arrogance 
to have spirit. 

1 "Holy lie." 


Perhaps I know the Germans, perhaps I may even tell 
them some truths. The new Germany represents a large 
quantum of fitness, both inherited and acquired by train- 
ing, so that for a time it may expend its accumulated 
store of strength, even squander it. It is not a high cul- 
ture that has thus become the master, and even less a 
delicate taste, a noble "beauty" of the instincts; but 
more virile virtues than any other country in Europe can 
show. Much cheerfulness and self-respect, much assur- 
ance in social relations and in the reciprocality of duties, 
much industriousness, much perseverance — and an in- 
herited moderation which needs the spur rather than 
the brake. I add that here one still obeys without feel- 
ing that obedience humiliates. And nobody despises his 

One will notice that I wish to be just to the Germans: 
I do not want to break faith with myself here. I must 
therefore also state my objections to them. One pays 
heavily for coming to power: power makes stupid. The 
Germans — once they were called the people of thinkers: 
do they think at all today? The Germans are now bored 
with the spirit, the Germans now mistrust the spirit; 
politics swallows up all serious concern for really spir- 
itual matters. Deutschland, Deutschland iiber dies — I 
fear that was the end of German philosophy. 

"Are there any German philosophers? Are there Ger- 
man poets? Are there good German books?" they ask 
me abroad. I blush; but with the courage which I main- 
tain even in desperate situations I reply: "Well, Bis- 
marck." Would it be permissible for me to confess what 
books are read today? Accursed instinct of mediocrity! 


What the German spirit might be — who has not had 
Lis melancholy ideas about thatl But this people has 

deliberately made itself stupid, for nearly a millennium: 
nowhere have the two great European narcotics, alcohol 
and Christianity, been abused more dissolutely. Re- 
cently even a third has been added— one that alone 
would be sufficient to dispatch all fine and bold flexi- 
bility of the spirit — music, our constipated, constipating 
German music. 

How much disgruntled heaviness, lameness, damp- 
ness, dressing gown — how much beer there is in the 
German intelligence! How is it at all possible that young 
men who dedicate their lives to the most spiritual goals 
do not feel the first instinct of spirituality, the spirit's 
instinct of self-preservation — and drink beer? The alco- 
holism of the young scholars is perhaps no question 
mark concerning their scholarliness — without spirit one 
can still be a great scholar — but in every other respect 
it remains a problem. Where would one not find the 
gentle degeneration which beer produces in the spirit? 
Once, in a case that has almost become famous, I put 
my finger on such a degeneration — the degeneration of 
our number-one German free spirit, the clever David 
Strauss, into the author of a beer-bench gospel and 
"new faith." It was not for nothing that he had made 
his vow to the "fair brunette" 1 in verse — loyalty unto 


I was speaking of the German spirit: it is becoming 
cruder, it is becoming shallower. Is that enough? At 
bottom, it is something quite different that alarms me: 
how German seriousness, German depth, German pas- 
sion in spiritual matters are declining more and more. 
The verve has changed, not just the intellectuality. Here 
and there I come into contact with German universities: 

• "Beer." 


what an atmosphere prevails among their scholars, what 
desolate spirituality — and how contented and lukewarm 
it has become! It would be a profound misunderstand- 
ing if one wanted to adduce German science against 
me — it would also be proof that one has not read a 
word I have written. For seventeen years I have never 
tired of calling attention to the despiritualizing influ- 
ence of our current science-industry. The hard helotism 
to which the tremendous range of the sciences con- 
demns every scholar today is a main reason why those 
with a fuller, richer, profounder disposition no longer 
find a congenial education and congenial educators. 
There is nothing of which our culture suffers more than 
of the superabundance of pretentious jobbers and frag- 
ments of humanity; our universities are, against their will, 
the real hothouses for this kind of withering of the 
instincts of the spirit. And the whole of Europe already 
has some idea of this — power politics deceives nobody. 
Germany is considered more and more as Europe's flat- 
land. I am still looking for a German with whom I 
might be able to be serious in my own way — and how 
much more for one with whom I might be cheerful! 
Twilight of the Idols: who today would comprehend 
from what seriousness a philosopher seeks recreation 
here? Our cheerfulness is what is most incomprehensible 
about us. 


Even a rapid estimate shows that it is not only 
obvious that German culture is declining but that there 
is sufficient reason for that. In the end, no one can spend 
more than he has: that is true of the individual, it is 
true of a people. If one spends oneself for power, for 
power politics, for economics, world trade, parliamen- 
tarianism, and military interests — if one spends in this 


direction the quantum of understanding, seriousness, 
will, and self-overcoming which one represents, then 
it will be lacking for the other direction. 

Culture and the state — one should not deceive one- 
self about this — are antagonists: "Kultur-Staat" is merely 
a modem idea. One lives off the other, one thrives at 
the expense of the other. All great ages of culture are 
ages of political decline: what is great culturally has 
always been unpolitical, even anti-political. Goethe's 
heart opened at the phenomenon of Napoleon — it 
closed at the "Wars of Liberation." At the same moment 
when Germany comes up as a great power, France 
gains a new importance as a cultural power. Even today 
much new seriousness, much new passion of the spirit, 
have migrated to Paris; the question of pessimism, for 
example, the question of Wagner, and almost all psy- 
chological and artistic questions are there weighed 
incomparably more delicately and thoroughly than in 
Germany — the Germans are altogether incapable of this 
kind of seriousness. In the history of European culture 
the rise of the "Reich" means one thing above all: a 
displacement of the center of gravity. It is already 
known everywhere: in what matters most — and that 
always remains culture — the Germans are no longer 
worthy of consideration. One asks: Can you point to 
even a single spirit who counts from a European point 
of view, as your Goethe, your Hegel, your Heinrich 
Heine, your Schopenhauer counted? That there is no 
longer a single German philosopher — about that there 
is no end of astonishment. 


The entire system of higher education in Germany 
has lost what matters most: the end as well as the 
means to the end. That education, that Bildung, is itself 


an end — and not "the Reich" — and that educators are 
needed to that end, and not secondary-school teachers 
and university scholars — that has been forgotten. Edu- 
cators are needed who have themselves been educated, 
superior, noble spirits, proved at every moment, proved 
by words and silence, representing culture which has 
grown ripe and sweet — not the learned louts whom 
secondary schools and universities today offer our youth 
as "higher wet nurses." Educators are lacking, not 
counting the most exceptional of exceptions, the very 
first condition of education: hence the decline of Ger- 
man culture. One of this rarest of exceptions is my vener- 
able friend, Jacob Burckhardt in Basel: it is primarily 
to him that Basel owes its pre-eminence in humaneness. 

What the "higher schools" in Germany really 
achieve is a brutal training, designed to prepare huge 
numbers of young men, with as little loss of time as 
possible, to become usable, abusable, in government 
service. "Higher education" and huge numbers — that 
is a contradiction to start with. All higher education 
belongs only to the exception: one must be privileged 
to have a right to so high a privilege. All great, all 
beautiful things can never be common property: pul- 
chrum est paucorum hominum. What conditions the 
decline of German culture? That "higher education" is 
no longer a privilege — the democratism of Bildung, 
which has become "common" — too common. Let it 
not be forgotten that military privileges really compel 
an all-too-great attendance in the higher schools, and 
thus their downfall. 

In present-day Germany no one is any longer free to 
give his children a noble education: our "higher schools" 
are all set up for the most ambiguous mediocrity, with 
their teachers, curricula, and teaching aims. And every- 
where an indecent haste prevails, as if something would 

be lost if the young man of twenty-three were not yet 
"finished," or if he did not yet know the answer to the 
"main question": which calling? A higher kind of hu- 
man being, if I may say so, does not like "callings," 
precisely because he knows himself to be called. He has 
time, he takes time, he does not even think of "finish- 
ing": at thirty one is, in the sense of high culture, a 
beginner, a child. Our overcrowded secondary schools, 
our overworked, stupefied secondary-school teachers, 
are a scandal: for one to defend such conditions, as the 
professors at Heidelberg did recently, there may per- 
haps be causes — reasons there are none. 


I put forward at once — lest I break with my style, 
which is affirmative and deals with contradiction and 
criticism only as a means, only involuntarily — the three 
tasks for which educators are required. One must learn 
to see, one must leam to think, one must leam to speak 
and write: the goal in all three is a noble culture. Learn- 
ing to see — accustoming the eye to calmness, to pa- 
tience, to letting things come up to it; postponing 
judgment, learning to go around and grasp each indi- 
vidual case from all sides. That is the first preliminary 
schooling for spirituality: not to react at once to a 
stimulus, but to gain control of all the inhibiting, ex- 
cluding instincts. Learning to see, as I understand it, is 
almost what, unphilosophically speaking, is called a 
strong will: the essential feature is precisely not to "will" 
— to be able to suspend decision. All un-spirituality, all 
vulgar commonness, depend on the inability to resist a 
stimulus: one must react, one follows every impulse. In 
many cases, such a compulsion is already pathology, 
decline, a symptom of exhaustion — almost eveiything 
that unphilosophical crudity designates with the word 


"vice" is merely this physiological inability not to react 
A practical application of having learned to see: as a 
learner, one will have become altogether slow, mistrust- 
ful, recalcitrant. One will let strange, new things of 
every kind come up to oneself, inspecting them with 
hostile calm and withdrawing one's hand. To have all 
doors standing open, to lie servilely on one's stomach 
before every little fact, always to be prepared for the 
leap of putting oneself into the place of, or of plunging 
into, others and other things — in short, the famous 
modem "objectivity" is bad taste, is ignoble par excel- 


Learning to think: in our schools one no longer has 
any idea of this. Even in the universities, even among 
the real scholars of philosophy, logic as a theory, as a 
practice, as a craft, is beginning to die out. One need 
only read German books: there is no longer the remotest 
recollection that thinking requires a technique, a teach- 
ing curriculum, a will to mastery — that thinking wants 
to be learned like dancing, as a kind of dancing. Who 
among Germans still knows from experience the deli- 
cate shudder which light feet in spiritual matters send 
into every muscle? The stiff clumsiness of the spiritual 
gesture, the bungling hand at grasping — that is Ger- 
man to such a degree that abroad one mistakes it for 
the German character as such. The German has no 
fingers for nuances. 

That the Germans have been able to- stand their 
philosophers at all, especially that most deformed con- 
cept-cripple of all time, the great Kant, provides not a 
bad notion of German grace. For one cannot subtract 
dancing in every form from a noble education — to 
be able to dance with one's feet, with concepts, with 

words: need I still add that one must be able to do it 
with the pen too — that one must leam to write? But at 
this point I should become completely enigmatic for 
German readers. 


My impossible ones. Seneca: or the toreador of virtue. 
Rousseau: or the return to nature in impuris naturalibus. 
Schiller: or the Moral-Trumpeter of Siickingen. Dante: 
or the hyena who writes poetry in tombs. Kant: or cant 
as an intelligible character. Victor Hugo: or the pharos 
at the sea of nonsense. Liszt: or the school of smooth- 
ness — with women. George Sand: or lactea ubertas — 
in translation, the milk cow with "a beautiful style." 
Michelet: or the enthusiasm which takes off its coat. 
Carlyle: or pessimism as a poorly digested dinner. John 
Stuart Mill: or insulting clarity. Les frdres de Concourt: 
or the two Ajaxes in battle with Homer — music by 
Offenbach. Zola: or "the delight in stinking." 


Renan. Theology: or the corruption of reason by 
'original sin" (Christianity). Witness Renan who, when- 
ever he risks a Yes or No of a more general nature, 
scores a miss with painful regularity. He wants, for 
example, to weld together la science and la noblesse: 
but la science belongs with democracy; what could be 
plainer? With no little ambition, he wishes to represent 
an aristocracy of the spirit: yet at the same time he is 
on his knees before its very counter-doctrine, the evan- 
gile des humbles — and not only on his knees. To what 
avail is all free-spiritedness, modernity, mockery, and 
wry-neck suppleness, if in one's guts one is still a Chris- 


tian, a Catholic — in fact, a priest! Renan is most inven- 
tive, just like a Jesuit and father confessor, when it 
comes to seduction; his spirituality does not even lack 
the broad fat popish smile — like all priests, he becomes 
dangerous only when he loves. Nobody can equal him 
when it comes to adoring in a manner endangering life 
itself. This spirit of Renan's, a spirit which is enervated, 
is one more calamity for poor, sick, will-sick France. 


Sainte Beuve. Nothing of virility, full of petty wrath 
against all virile spirits. Wanders around, cowardly, 
curious, bored, eavesdropping — a female at bottom, with 
a female's lust for revenge and a female's sensuality. As 
a psychologist, a genius of medisance, 1 inexhaustibly 
rich in means to that end; no one knows better how to 
mix praise with poison. Plebeian in the lowest instincts 
and related to the ressentiment of Rousseau: conse- 
quently, a romantic — for underneath all romantisnte lie 
the grunting and greed of Rousseau's instinct for re- 
venge. A revolutionary, but still pretty well harnessed 
by fear. Without freedom when confronted with any- 
thing strong (public opinion, the Academy, the court, 
even Port Royal). Embittered against everything great 
in men and things, against whatever believes in itself. 
Poet and half-female enough to sense the great as a 
power; always writhing like the famous worm because 
he always feels stepped upon. As a critic, without any 
standard, steadiness, and backbone, with the cosmo- 
politan libertine's tongue for a medley of things, but 
without the courage even to confess his libertinage. As 
a historian, without philosophy, without the power of the 
philosophical eye — hence declining the task of judging 
in all significant matters, hiding behind the mask of 

1 "Slander." 

"objectivity." It is different with his attitude to all things 
in which a fine, well-worn taste is the highest tribunal: 
there he really has the courage to stand by himself and 
delight in himself — there he is a master. In some re- 
spects, a preliminary version of Baudelaire. 


De imitatione Christi is one of those books which I 
cannot hold in my hand without a physiological reac- 
tion: it exudes a perfume of the Eternal-Feminine 
which is strictly for Frenchmen— or Wagnerians. This 
saint has a way of talking about love which arouses 
even Parisian women to curiosity. I am told that that 
cleverest of Jesuits, A. Comte, who wanted to lead his 
Frenchmen to Rome via the detour of science, found 
his inspiration in this book. I believe it: "the religion of 
the heart." 


G. Eliot. They are rid of the Christian God and now 
believe all the more firmly that they must cling to 
Christian morality. That is an English consistency; we 
do not wish to hold it against little moralistic females a 
la Eliot. In England one must rehabilitate oneself after 
every little emancipation from theology by showing in 
a veritably awe-inspiring manner what a moral fanatic 
one is. That is the penance they pay there. 

We others hold otherwise. When one gives up the 
Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality 
out from under one's feet. This morality is by no means 
self-evident: this point has to be exhibited again and 
again, despite the English flatheads. Christianity is a 
system, a whole view of things thought out together. 
By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in 
God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains 


in one's hands. Christianity presupposes that man does 
not know, cannot know, what is good for him, what 
evil: he believes in God, who alone knows it. Christian 
morality is a command; its origin is transcendent; it is 
beyond all criticism, all right to criticism; it has truth 
only if God is the truth — it stands and falls with faith 
in God. 

When the English actually believe that they know 
"intuitively" what is good and evil, when they there- 
fore suppose that they no longer require Christianity 
as the guarantee of morality, we merely witness the 
effects of the dominion of the Christian value judgment 
and an expression of the strength and depth of this 
dominion: such that the origin of English morality has 
been forgotten, such that the very conditional character 
of its right to existence is no longer felt. For the English, 
morality is not yet a problem. 


George Sand. I read the first Lettres d'un voyageur: 
like everything that is descended from Rousseau, false, 
fabricated, bellows, exaggerated. I cannot stand this 
motley wallpaper style any more than the mob aspi- 
ration for generous feelings. The worst feature, to be 
sure, is the female's coquetry with male attributes, with 
the manners of naughty boys. How cold she must 
have been throughout, this insufferable artistl She 
wound herself like a clock — and wrote. Cold, like Hugo, 
like Balzac, like all the romantics as soon as they took 
up poetic invention. And how self-satisfied she may 
have lain there all the while, this fertile writing-cow 
who had in her something German in the bad sense, 
like Rousseau himself, her master, and who in any 
case was possible only during the decline of French 
tastel But Renan reveres her. 




Moral for psychologists. Not to go in for backstairs 
psychology. Never to observe in order to observel That 
gives a false perspective, leads to squinting and some- 
thing forced and exaggerated. Experience as the wish 
to experience does not succeed. One must not eye one- 
self while having an experience; else the eye becomes 
"an evil eye." A born psychologist guards instinctively 
against seeing in order to see; die same is true of the 
born painter. He never works "from nature"; he leaves 
it to his instinct, to his camera obscura, to sift through 
and express the "case," "nature," that which is "expe- 
rienced." He is conscious only of what is general, of the 
conclusion, the result: he does not know arbitrary ab- 
stractions from an individual case. 

What happens when one proceeds differently? For 
example, if, in the manner of the Parisian novelists, one 
goes in for backstairs psychology and deals in gossip, 
wholesale and retail? Then one lies in wait for reality, 
as it were, and every evening one brings home a hand- 
ful of curiosities. But note what finally comes of all 
this: a heap of splotches, a mosaic at best, but in any 
case something added together, something restless, a 
mess of screaming colors. The worst in this respect is 
accomplished by the Goncourts; they do not put 
three sentences together without really hurting the eye, 
the psychologist's eye. 

Nature, estimated artistically, is no model. It exagger- 
ates, it distorts, it leaves gaps. Nature is chance. To 
study "from nature" seems to me to be a bad sign: it 
betrays submission, weakness, fatalism; this lying in the 
dust before petit faits is unworthy of a whole artist. To 
see what is— that is the mark of another kind of spirit, 
the anti-artistic, the factual. One must know who one is. 



Toward a psychology of the artist. If there is to be 
art, if there is to be any aesthetic doing and seeing, one 
physiological condition is indispensable: frenzy. Frenzy 
must first have enhanced the excitability of the whole 
machine; else there is no art. All kinds of frenzy, how- 
ever diversely conditioned, have the strength to ac- 
complish this: above all, the frenzy of sexual excitement, 
this most ancient and original form of frenzy. Also the 
frenzy that follows all great cravings, all strong affects; 
the frenzy of feasts, contests, feats of daring, victory, 
all extreme movement; the frenzy of cruelty; the 
frenzy in destruction; the frenzy under certain meteoro- 
logical influences, as for example the frenzy of spring; 
or under the influence of narcotics; and finally the 
frenzy of will, the frenzy of an overcharged and swollen 
will. What is essential in such frenzy is the feeling of 
increased strength and fullness. Out of this feeling one 
lends to things, one forces them to accept from us, one 
violates them — this process is called idealizing. Let us 
get rid of a prejudice here: idealizing does not consist, 
as is commonly held, in subtracting or discounting the 
petty and inconsequential. What is decisive is rather a 
tremendous drive to bring out the main features so that 
the others disappear in the process. 


In this state one enriches everything out of one's 
own fullness: whatever one sees, whatever one wills, 
is seen swelled, taut, strong, overloaded with strength. 
A man in this state transforms things until they mirror 
his power — until they are reflections of his perfection. 
This having to transform into perfection is — art. Even 

everything that he is not yet, becomes for him an occa- 
sion of joy in himself; in art man enjoys himself as per- 

It would be permissible to imagine an opposite state, 
a specific anti-artistry by instinct — a mode of being 
which would impoverish all things, making them thin 
and consumptive. And, as a matter of fact, history is rich 
in such anti-artists, in such people who are starved by 
life and must of necessity grab things, eat them out, 
and make them more meager. This is, for example, the 
case of the genuine Christian — of Pascal, for example: 
a Christian who would at the same time be an artist 
simply does not occur. One should not be childish and 
object by naming Raphael or some homeopathic Chris- 
tian of the nineteenth century: Raphael said Yes, 
Raphael did Yes; consequently, Raphael was no Chris- 


What is the meaning of the conceptual opposites 
which I have introduced into aesthetics, Apollinian and 
Dionysian, both conceived as kinds of frenzy? The 
Apollinian frenzy excites the eye above all, so that it 
gains the power of vision. The painter, the sculptor, the 
epic poet are visionaries par excellence. In the Diony- 
sian state, on the other hand, the whole affective sytem 
is excited and enhanced: so that it discharges all its 
means of expression at once and drives forth simul- 
taneously the power of representation, imitation, trans- 
figuration, transformation, and every kind of mimicking 
and acting. The essential feature here remains the ease 
of metamorphosis, the inability not to react (similar to 
certain hysterical types who also, upon any suggestion, 
enter into any role). It is impossible for the Dionysian 


type not to understand any suggestion; he does not 
overlook any sign of an affect; he possesses the instinct 
of understanding and guessing in the highest degree, 
just as he commands the art of communication in the 
highest degree. He enters into any skin, into any affect: 
he constantly transforms himself. 

Music, as we understand it today, is also a total 
excitement and a total discharge of the affects, but 
even so only the remnant of a much fuller world of 
expression of the affects, a mere residue of the Diony- 
sian histrionicism. To make music possible as a separate 
art, a number of senses, especially the muscle sense, 
have been immobilized (at least relatively, for to a 
certain degree all rhythm still appeals to our muscles); 
so that man no longer bodily imitates and represents 
everything he feels. Nevertheless, that is really the 
normal Dionysian state, at least the original state. Music 
is the specialization of this state attained slowly at the 
expense of those faculties which are most closely related 
to it. 


The actor, the mime, the dancer, the musician, and 
the lyric poet are basically related in their instincts and, 
at bottom, one — but gradually they have become spe- 
cialized and separated from each other, even to the 
point of mutual opposition. The lyric poet remained 
united with the musician for the longest time; the actor, 
with the dancer. 

The architect represents neither a Dionysian nor an 
Apollinian state: here it is the great act of will, the 
will that moves mountains, the frenzy of the great will 
which aspires to art. The most powerful human beings 
have always inspired architects; the architect has al- 

ways been under the spell of power. His buildings are 
supposed to render pride visible, and the victory over 
gravity, the will to power. Architecture is a kind of 
eloquence of power in forms — now persuading, even 
flattering, now only commanding. The highest feeling 
of power and sureness finds expression in a grand style. 
The power which no longer needs any proof, which 
spurns pleasing, which does not answer lightly, which 
feels no witness near, which lives oblivious of all op- 
position to it, which reposes within itself, fatalistically, 
a law among laws — that speaks of itself as a grand style. 


I have been reading the life of Thomas Carlyle, this 
unconscious and involuntary farce, this heroic-moralistic 
interpretation of dyspeptic states. Carlyle: a man of 
strong words and attitudes, a rhetor from need, con- 
stantly lured by the craving for a strong faith and the 
feeling of his incapacity for it (in this respect, a typical 
romanticl). The craving for a strong faith is no proof 
of a strong faith, but quite the contrary. If one has such 
a faith, then one can afford the beautiful luxury of 
skepticism: one is sure enough, firm enough, has ties 
enough for that. Carlyle drugs something in himself 
with the fortissimo of his veneration of men of strong 
faith and with his rage against the less simple-minded: 
he requires noise. A constant passionate dishonesty 
against himself — that is his proprium; in this respect he 
is and remains interesting. Of course, in England he is 
admired precisely for his honesty. Well, that is English; 
and in view of the fact that the English are the people 
of consummate cant, it is even as it should be, and not 
only comprehensible. At bottom, Carlyle is an English 
atheist who makes it a point of honor not to be one. 




Emerson. Much more enlightened, more roving, more 
manifold, subtler than Carlyle; above all, happier. One 
who instinctively nourishes himself only on ambrosia, 
leaving behind what is indigestible in things. Compared 
with Carlyle, a man of taste. Carlyle, who loved him 
very much, nevertheless said of him: "He does not 
give us enough to chew on" — which may be true, but is 
no reflection on Emerson. Emerson has that gracious 
and clever cheerfulness which discourages all serious- 
ness; he simply does not know how old he is already 
and how young he is still going to be; he could say of 
himself, quoting Lope de Vega: "Yo me sucedo a mi 
mismo." 1 His spirit always finds reasons for being 
satisfied and even grateful; and at times he touches on 
the cheerful transcendency of the worthy gentleman 
who returned from an amorous rendezvous, tamquam 
re bene gesta. "Ut desint vires," he said gratefully, 
"tamen est laudanda voluptas." 2 


Anti-Darwin. As for the famous "struggle for exist- 
ence," so far it seems to me to be asserted rather than 
proved. It occurs, but as an exception; the total ap- 
pearance of life is not the extremity, not starvation, but 
rather riches, profusion, even absurd squandering — 
and where there is struggle, it is a struggle for power. 
One should not mistake Malthus for nature. 

Assuming, however, that there is such a struggle for 
existence — and, indeed, it occurs — its result is un- 

1 "I am my own heir." 

'"As if he had accomplished his mission. Though the 
power is lacking, the lust is nevertheless praiseworthy.' " 

fortunately the opposite of what Darwin's school 
desires, and of what one might perhaps desire with 
them — namely, in favor of the strong, the privileged, 
the fortunate exceptions. The species do not grow in per- 
fection: the weak prevail over the strong again and 
again, for they are the great majority — and they are 
also more intelligent. Darwin forgot the spirit (that is 
English!); the weak have more spirit. One must need 
spirit to acquire spirit; one loses it when one no longer 
needs it. Whoever has strength dispenses with the 
spirit ("Let it go!" they think in Germany today; "the 
Reich must still remain to us." 1 ) . It will be noted that 
by "spirit" I mean care, patience, cunning, simulation, 
great self-control, and everything that is mimicry (the 
latter includes a great deal of so-called virtue). 

Casuistry of Psychologists. This man knows human 
nature; why does he really study people? He wants to 
seize little advantages over them — or big ones, for that 
matter — he is a politician. That one over there also 
knows human nature, and you say that he seeks no 
profit for himself, that he is thoroughly "impersonal." 
Look more closely! Perhaps he even wants a worse ad- 
vantage: to feel superior to other human beings, to be 
able to look down on them, and no longer to mistake 
himself for one of them. This "impersonal" type is a 
despiser of human beings, while the first type is the 
more humane species, appearances notwithstanding. At 
least he places himself on the same plane, he places 
himself among them. 

1 Quotation from Luther's most famous hymn, Ein feste 
Burg. In its original context, Reich refers to the kingdom 
of God. 



The psychological tact of the Germans seems very 
questionable to me, in view of quite a number of cases 
which modesty prevents me from enumerating. In one 
case I shall not lack a great occasion to substantiate 
my thesis: I bear the Germans a grudge for having 
made such a mistake about Kant and his "backdoor 
philosophy," as I call it — for that was not the type of 
intellectual integrity. The other thing I do not like to 
hear is a notorious "and": the Germans say "Goethe. 
and Schiller" — I am afraid they say "Schiller and 
Goethe." Don't they know this Schiller yet? And there 
are even worse "ands"; with my own ears I have heard, 
if only among university professors, "Schopenhauer and 


The most spiritual human beings, if we assume that 
they are the most courageous, also experience by far 
the most painful tragedies: but just for that reason they 
honor life because it pits its greatest opposition against 


On the "intellectual conscience." Nothing seems rarer 
to me today than genuine hypocrisy. I greatly suspect 
that the soft air of our culture is insalubrious for this 
plant. Hypocrisy belongs in the ages of strong faith 
when, even though constrained to display another faith, 
one did not abandon one's own faith. Today one does 
abandon it; or, even more commonly, one adds a second 
faith — and in either case one remains honest. Without 
a doubt, a very much greater number of convictions is 
possible today than formerly: "possible" means permis- 

sible, which means harmless. This begets tolerance to- 
ward oneself. 

Tolerance toward oneself permits several convictions, 
and they get along with each other: they are careful, 
like all the rest of the world, not to compromise them- 
selves. How does one compromise oneself today? If one 
is consistent. If one proceeds in a straight line. If one 
is not ambiguous enough to permit five conflicting inter- 
pretations. If one is genuine. 

I fear greatly that modem man is simply too com- 
fortable for some vices, so that they die out by default. 
All evil that is a function of a strong will — and perhaps 
there is no evil without strength of will — degenerates 
into virtue in our tepid air. The few hypocrites whom 
I have met imitated hypocrisy: like almost every tenth 
person today, they were actors. 


Beautiful and ugly. Nothing is more conditional— or, 
let us say, narrower — than our feeling for beauty. Who- 
ever would think of it apart from man's joy in man 
would immediately lose any foothold. "Beautiful in 
itself' is a mere phrase, not even a concept. In the 
beautiful, man posits himself as the measure of per- 
fection; in special cases he worships himself in it. A 
species cannot do otherwise but thus affirm itself alone. 
Its lowest instinct, that of self-preservation and self- 
expansion, still radiates in such sublimities. Man be- 
lieves the world itself to be overloaded with beauty — 
and he forgets himself as the cause of this. He alone 
has presented the world with beauty — alas! only with a 
very human, all-too-human beauty. At bottom, man 
mirrors himself in things; he considers everything beau- 
tiful that reflects his own image: the judgment "beau- 
tiful" is the vanity of his species. For a little suspicion 


may whisper this question into the skeptic's ear: Is 
the world really beautified by the fact that man thinks 
it beautiful? He has humanized it, that is all. But noth- 
ing, absolutely nothing, guarantees that man should be 
the model of beauty. Who knows what he looks like in 
the eyes of a higher judge of beauty? Daring perhaps? 
Perhaps even amusing? Perhaps a little arbitrary? 

"O Dionysus, divine one, why do you pull me by 
my ears?" Ariadne once asked her philosophic lover 
during one of those famous dialogues on Naxos. "I find 
a kind of humor in your ears, Ariadne: why are they not 
even longer?" 


Nothing is beautiful, except man alone: all aesthetics 
rests upon this naivet6, which is its first truth. Let us 
immediately add the second: nothing is ugly except the 
degenerating mart — and with this the realm of aesthetic 
judgment is circumscribed. Physiologically, everything 
ugly weakens and saddens man. It reminds him of 
decay, danger, impotence; it actually deprives him of 
strength. One can measure the effect of the ugly with 
a dynamometer. Wherever man is depressed at all, he 
senses the proximity of something "ugly." His feeling of 
power, his will to power, his courage, his pride — all 
fall with the ugly and rise with the beautiful. In both 
cases we draw an inference: the premises for it are 
piled up in the greatest abundance in instinct. The ugly 
is understood as a sign and symptom of degeneration: 
whatever reminds us in the least of degeneration causes 
in us the judgment of "ugly." Every suggestion of ex- 
haustion, of heaviness, of age, of weariness; every kind 
of lack of freedom, such as cramps, such as paralysis; 
and above all, the smell, the color, the form of dissolu- 
tion, of decomposition — even in the ultimate attenua- 

tion into a symbol — all evoke the same reaction, the 
value judgment, "ugly." A hatred is aroused — but whom 
does man hate then? There is no doubt: the decline of 
his type. Here he hates out of the deepest instinct of 
the species; in this hatred there is a shudder, caution, 
depth, farsightedness — it is the deepest hatred there is. 
It is because of this that art is deep. 


Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer, the last German worthy 
of consideration (who represents a European event like 
Goethe, like Hegel, like Heinrich Heine, and not merely 
a local event, a "national" one), is for a psychologist 
a first-rate case: namely, as a maliciously ingenious 
attempt to adduce in favor of a nihilistic total deprecia- 
tion of life precisely the counter-instances, the great 
self-affirmations of the "will to life," life's forms of 
exuberance. He has interpreted art, heroism, genius, 
beauty, great sympathy, knowledge, the will to truth, 
and tragedy, in turn, as consequences of "negation" or 
of the "will's" need to negate — the greatest psycho- 
logical counterfeit in all history, not counting Chris- 
tianity. On closer inspection, he is at this point merely 
the heir of the Christian interpretation: only he knew 
how to approve that which Christianity had repudiated, 
the great cultural facts of humanity — albeit in a Chris- 
tian, that is, nihilistic, manner (namely, as ways of 
"redemption," as anticipations of "redemption," as 
stimuli of the need for "redemption"). 


I take a single case. Schopenhauer speaks of beauty 
with a melancholy fervor. Why? Because he sees in it 
a bridge on which one will go farther, or develp a thirst 
to go farther. Beauty is for him a momentary redemp- 


tion from the "will" — a lure to eternal redemption. 
Particularly, he praises beauty as the redeemer from 
"the focal point of the will," from sexuality — in beauty 
he sees the negation of the drive toward procreation. 
Queer saint! Somebody seems to be contradicting you; 
I fear it is nature. To what end is there any such thing 
as beauty in tone, color, fragrance, or rhythmic move- 
ment in nature? What is it that beauty evokes? For- 
tunately, a philosopher contradicts him too. No lesser 
authority than that of the divine Plato (so Schopen- 
hauer himself calls him) maintains a different propo- 
sition: that all beauty incites procreation, that just this 
is the proprium of its effect, from the most sensual up 
to the most spiritual. 


Plato goes further. He says with an innocence pos- 
sible only for a Greek, not a "Christian," that there 
would be no Platonic philosophy at all if there were not 
such beautiful youths in Athens: it is only their sight 
that transposes the philosopher's soul into an erotic 
trance, leaving it no peace until it lowers the seed of 
all exalted things into such beautiful soil. Another queer 
saint! One does not trust one's ears, even if one should 
trust Plato. At least one guesses that they philosophized 
differently in Athens, especially in public. Nothing is 
less Greek than the conceptual web-spinning of a her- 
mit — amor intellectualis dei 1 after the fashion of Spi- 
noza. Philosophy after the fashion of Plato might rather 
be defined as an erotic contest, as a further develop- 
ment and turning inward of the ancient agonistic gym- 
nastics and of its presuppositions. What ultimately grew 
out of this philosophic eroticism of Plato? A new art 
form of the Greek agon: dialectics. Finally, I recall — 

1 "Intellectual love of God." 

against Schopenhauer and in honor of Plato — that the 
whole higher culture and literature of classical France 
too grew on the soil of sexual interest. Everywhere in 
it one may look for the amatory, the senses, the sexual 
contest, "the woman" — one will never look in vain. 


L'art pour Tart. The fight against purpose in art is 
always a fight against the moralizing tendency in art, 
against its subordination to morality. L'art pour l'art 
means, "The devil take morality!" But even this hostil- 
ity still betrays the overpowering force of the prejudice. 
When the purpose of moral preaching and of improv- 
ing man has been excluded from art, it still does not 
follow by any means that art is altogether purposeless, 
aimless, senseless — in short, l'art pour l'art, a worm 
chewing its own tail. "Rather no purpose at all than a 
moral purpose!" — that is the talk of mere passion. A 
psychologist, on the other hand, asks: what does all art 
do? does it not praise? glorify? choose? prefer? With 
all this it strengthens or weakens certain valuations. Is 
this merely a "moreover"? an accident? something in 
which the artist's instinct had no share? Or is it not 
the very presupposition of the artist's ability? Does his 
basic instinct aim at art, or rather at the sense of art, 
at life? at a desirability of life? Art is the great stimulus 
to life: how could one understand it as purposeless, as 
aimless, as l'art pour l'art? 

One question remains: art also makes apparent much 
that is ugly, hard, and questionable in life; does it not 
thereby spoil life for us? And indeed there have been 
philosophers who attributed this sense to it: "liberation 
from the will" was what Schopenhauer taught as the 
over-all end of art; and with admiration he found the 
great utility of tragedy in its "evoking resignation." But 


this, as I have already suggested, is the pessimist's per- 
spective and "evil eye." We must appeal to the artists 
themselves. What does the tragic artist communicate 
of himself? Is it not precisely the state without fear in 
the face of the fearful and questionable that he is show- 
ing? This state itself is a great desideratum; whoever 
knows it, honors it with the greatest honors. He com- 
municates it — must communicate it, provided he is an 
artist, a genius of communication. Courage and freedom 
of feeling before a powerful enemy, before a sublime 
calamity, before a problem that arouses dread — this 
triumphant state is what the tragic artist chooses, what 
he glorifies. Before tragedy, what is warlike in our soul 
celebrates its Saturnalia; whoever is used to suffering, 
whoever seeks out suffering, the heroic man praises his 
own being through tragedy — to him alone the tragedian 
presents this drink of sweetest cruelty. 


To put up with people, to keep open house with one's 
heart — that is liberal, but that is merely liberal. One 
recognizes those hearts which are capable of noble 
hospitality by the many draped windows and closed 
shutters: they keep their best rooms empty. Why? Be- 
cause they expect guests with whom one does not 
put up. 


We no longer esteem ourselves sufficiently when we 
communicate ourselves. Our true experiences are not 
at all garrulous. They could not communicate them- 
selves even if they tried. That is because they lack the 
right word. Whatever we have words for, that we have 
already got beyond. In all talk there is a grain of 
contempt. Language, it seems, was invented only for 

what is average, medium, communicable. With lan- 
guage the speaker immediately vulgarizes himself. Out 
of a morality for deaf-mutes and other philosophers. 


"This picture is enchantingly beautiful!" 1 The liter- 
ary female: unsatisfied, excited, her heart and entrails 
void, ever listening, full of painful curiosity, to the 
imperative, which whispers from the depths of her 
organism, "aut liberi aut libri' 2 — the literary female: 
educated enough to understand the voice of nature even 
when it speaks Latin, and yet vain enough and goose 
enough to speak secretly with herself in French, "je 
me verrai, je me lirai, je m'extasierai et je dirai: Pos- 
sible, que j'aie eu tant cTesprit?"* 


The "impersonal" get a word in. "Nothing is easier 
for us than to be wise, patient, and superior. We drip 
with the oil of forgiveness and sympathy, we are ab- 
surdly just, we pardon everything. For that very reason 
we ought to be a little more strict with ourselves; for 
that very reason we ought to breed a little affect in our- 
selves from time to time, a little vice of an affect. It 
may be hard on us; and among ourselves we may even 
laugh at the sight we thus offer. But what can be done 
about it? No other way of self-overcoming is left to us 
anymore: this is our asceticism, our penance." Develop- 
ing personal traits: the virtue of the "impersonal." 

1 Quotation from The Magic Flute. 
* "Either children or books." 

*"I shall see myself, I shall read myself, I shall go into 
ecstasies, and I shall say: Is it possible that I should have 
had so much esprit?" 



From a doctoral examination. "What is the task of all 
higher education?" To turn men into machines. "What 
are the means?" Man must leam to be bored. "How is 
that accomplished?" By means of the concept of duty. 
"Who serves as the model?" The philologist: he teaches 
grinding. "Who is the perfect man?" The civil servant 
"Which philosophy offers the highest formula for the 
civil servant?" Kant's: the civil servant as a thing-in- 
itself raised up to be judge over the civil servant as 


The right to stupidity. The weary laborer who 
breathes slowl). looks genial, and lets things go as they 
may — this typical figure, encountered today, in the age 
of labor (and of the "Reich"!), in all classes of society, 
claims art, no less, as his own sphere, including books 
and, above all, magazines — and even more the beautiea 
of nature, Italy. The man of the evening, with hia 
"savage drives gone to sleep" (as Faust says), needs a 
summer resort, the seashore, glaciers, Bayreuths. In 
such ages art has a right to pure foolishness — as a kind 
of vacation for spirit, wit, and feeling. Wagner under- 
stood that. Pure foolishness restores. 1 


Another problem of diet. The means by which Julius 
Caesar defended himself against sickliness and head- 
aches: tremendous marches, the most frugal way of 
life, uninterrupted sojourn in the open air, continuous 
exertion — these are, in general, the universal rules of 
preservation and protection against the extreme vulner- 

1 Wagner himself calls Parsifal "the pure fool." 

ability of that subtle machine, working under the high- 
est pressure, which we call genius. 


The immoralist speaks. Nothing offends the philoso- 
pher's taste more than man, insofar as man desires. If 
he sees man in action, even if he sees this most coura- 
geous, most cunning, most enduring animal lost in laby- 
rinthian distress — how admirable man appears to himl 
He still likes him. But the philosopher despises the 
desiring man, also the "desirable" man — and altogether 
all desirabilities, all ideals of man. If a philosopher 
could be a nihilist, he would be one because he finds 
nothing behind all the ideals of man. Or not even 
nothing — but only what is abject, absurd, sick, cowardly, 
and weary, all kinds of dregs out of the emptied cup of 
his life. Man being so venerable in his reality, how is 
it that he deserves no respect insofar as he desires? 
Must he atone for being so capable in reality? Must he 
balance his activity, the strain on head and will in all 
his activity, by stretching his limbs in the realm of the 
imaginary and the absurd? 

The history of his desirabilities has so far been the 
partie honteuse of man: one should beware of reading 
in it too long. What justifies man is his reality — R will 
eternally justify him. How much greater is the worth 
of the real man, compared with any merely desired, 
dreamed-up, foully fabricated man? with any ideal man? 
And it is only the ideal man who offends the philoso- 
pher's taste. 


The natural value of egoism. Self-interest is worth 
as much as the person who has it: it can be worth a 
great deal, and it can be unworthy and contemptible. 


Every individual may be scrutinized to see whether he 
represents the ascending or the descending line of life. 
Having made that decision, one has a canon for the 
worth of his self-interest. If he represents the ascending 
line, then his worth is indeed extraordinary — and for 
the sake of life as a whole, which takes a step farther 
through him, the care for his preservation and for the 
creation of the best conditions for him may even be 
extreme. The single one, the "individual," as hitherto 
understood by the people and the philosophers alike, is 
an error after all: he is nothing by himself, no atom, 
no "link in the chain," nothing merely inherited from 
former times; he is the whole single line of humanity 
up to himself. If he represents the descending develop- 
ment, decay, chronic degeneration, and sickness (sick- 
nesses are, in general, the consequences of decay, not 
its causes), then he has small worth, and the minimum 
of decency requires that he take away as little as pos- 
sible from those who have turned out well. He is merely 
their parasite. 


Christian and anarchist. When the anarchist, as the 
mouthpiece of the declining strata of society, demands 
with a fine indignation what is "right," "justice," and 
"equal rights," he is merely under the pressure of his 
own uncultured state, which cannot comprehend the 
real reason for his suffering — what it is that he is poor 
in: life. A causal instinct asserts itself in him: it must 
be somebody's fault that he is in a bad way. 

Also, the "fine indignation" itself soothes him; it is a 
pleasure for all wretched devils to scold: it gives a 
slight but intoxicating sense of power. Even plaintive- 
ness and complaining can give life a charm for the sake 
of which one endures it: there is a fine dose of revenge 

in every complaint; one charges one's own bad situation, 
and under certain circumstances even one's own bad- 
ness, to those who are different, as if that were an 
injustice, a forbidden privilege. "If I am canaille, you 
ought to be too" — on such logic are revolutions made. 

Complaining is never any good: it stems from weak- 
ness. Whether one charges one's misfortune to others 
or to oneself — the socialist does the former; the Chris- 
tian, for example, the latter — really makes no differ- 
ence. The common and, let us add, the unworthy, thing 
is that it is supposed to be somebody's fault that one is 
suffering; in short, that the sufferer prescribes the 
honey of revenge for himself against his suffering. The 
objects of this need for revenge, as a need for pleasure, 
are mere occasions: everywhere the sufferer finds oc- 
casions for satisfying his little revenge. If he is a 
Christian — to repeat it once more — he finds them in 
himself. The Christian and the anarchist are both de- 
cadents. When the Christian condemns, slanders, and 
besmirches "the world," his instinct is the same as that 
which prompts the socialist worker to condemn, slander, 
and besmirch society. The "last judgment" is the sweet 
comfort of revenge — the revolution, which the social- 
ist worker also awaits, but conceived as a little farther 
off. The "beyond" — why a beyond, if not as a means for 
besmirching this world? 


Critique of the morality of decadence. An "altru- 
istic" morality — a morality in which self-interest wilts 
away — remains a bad sign under all circumstances. This 
is true of individuals; it is particularly true of nations. 
The best is lacking when self-interest begins to be lack- 
ing. Instinctively to choose what is harmful for oneself, 
to feel attracted by "disinterested" motives, that is vir- 


tually the formula of decadence. "Not to seek one's own 
advantage" — that is merely the moral fig leaf for quite 
a different, namely, a physiological, state of affairs: "I 
no longer know how to find my own advantage." Dis- 
gregation of the instincts! Man is finished when he be- 
comes altruistic. Instead of saying naively, "I am no 
longer worth anything," the moral lie in the mouth of 
the decadent says, "Nothing is worth anything, life is 
not worth anything." Such a judgment always remains 
very dangerous, it is contagious: throughout the morbid 
soil of society it soon proliferates into a tropical vege- 
tation of concepts — now as a religion (Christianity), 
now as a philosophy (Schopenhauerism). Sometimes 
the poisonous vegetation which has grown out of such 
decomposition poisons life itself for millennia with its 


Morality for physicians. The sick man is a parasite of 
society. In a certain state it is indecent to live longer. 
To go on vegetating in cowardly dependence on phy- 
sicians and machinations, after the meaning of life, the 
right to life, has been lost, that ought to prompt a pro- 
found contempt in society. The physicians, in tum, 
would have to be the mediators of this contempt — not 
prescriptions, but every day a new dose of nausea with 
their patients. To create a new responsibility, that of 
the physician, for all cases in which the highest interest 
of life, of ascending life, demands the most inconsider- 
ate pushing down and aside of degenerating life — for 
example, for the right of procreation, for the right to be 
born, for the right to live. 

To die proudly when it is no longer possible to live 
proudly. Death freely chosen, death at the right time, 
brightly and cheerfully accomplished amid children and 

witnesses: then a real farewell is still possible, as the 
one who is taking leave is still there; also a real esti- 
mate of what one has achieved and what one has 
wished, drawing the sum of one's life — all in opposi- 
tion to the wretched and revolting comedy that Chris- 
tianity has made of the hour of death. One should never 
forget that Christianity has exploited the weakness of 
the dying for a rape of the conscience; and the manner 
of death itself, for value judgments about man and the 

Here it is important to defy all the cowardices of 
prejudice and to establish, above all, the real, that is, 
the physiological, appreciation of so-called natural 
death — which is in the end also "unnatural," a kind of 
suicide. One never perishes through anybody but one- 
self. But usually it is death under the most contemptible 
conditions, an unfree death, death not at the right 
time, a coward's death. From love of life, one should 
desire a different death: free, conscious, without acci- 
dent, without ambush. 

Finally, some advice for our dear pessimists and 
other decadents. It is not in our hands to prevent our 
birth; but we can correct this mistake — for in some 
cases it is a mistake. When one does away with one- 
self, one does the most estimable thing possible: one 
almost earns the right to live. Society — what am I say- 
ing? — life itself derives more advantage from this thai* 
from any "life" of renunciation, anemia, and other vir- 
tues: one has liberated the others from one's sight; one 
has liberated life from an objection. Pessimism, pur, 
vert, is proved only by the self-refutation of our dear 
pessimists: one must advance a step further in its logic 
and not only negate life with "will and representation," 
as Schopenhauer did — one must first of all negate 


Incidentally, however contagious pessimism is, it still 
does not increase the sickliness of an age, of a genera- 
tion as a whole: it is an expression of this sickliness. 
One falls victim to it as one falls victim to cholera: one 
has to be morbid enough in one's whole predisposition. 
Pessimism itself does not create a single decadent more; 
I recall the statistics which show that the years in which 
cholera rages do not differ from other years in the total 
number of deaths. 


Whether we have become more moral. Against my 
conception of "beyond good and evil" — as was to be 
expected — the whole ferocity of moral hebetation, mis- 
taken for morality itself in Germany, as is well known, 
has gone into action: I could tell fine stories about that. 
Above all I was asked to consider the "undeniable 
superiority* of our age in moral judgment, the real 
progress we have made here: compared with us, a 
Cesare Borgia is by no means to be represented after 
my manner as a "higher man," a kind of overman. A 
Swiss editor of the Bund went so far that he "under- 
stood" the meaning of my work — not without express- 
ing his respect for my courage and daring — to be a 
"demand for the abolition of all decent feelings. Thank 
you! In reply, I take the liberty of raising the question 
whether we have really become more moral. That all 
the world believes this to be the case merely constitutes 
an objection. 

We modem men, very tender, very easily hurt, and 
offering as well as receiving consideration a hundred- 
fold, really have the conceit that this tender humanity 
which we represent, this attained unanimity in sympa- 
thetic regard, in readiness to help, in mutual trust, rep- 
resents positive progress and that in this respect we are 

far above the men of the Renaissance. But that is how 
every age thinks, how it must think. What is certain is 
that we may not place ourselves in Renaissance con- 
ditions, not even by an act of thought: our nerves would 
not endure that reality, not to speak of our muscles. But 
such incapacity does not prove progress, only another, 
later constitution, one which is weaker, frailer, more 
easily hurt, and which necessarily generates a morality 
rich in consideration. Were we to think away our 
frailty and lateness, our physiological senescence, then 
our morality of "humanization" would immediately lose 
its value too (in itself, no morality has any value) — it 
would even arouse disdain. On the other hand, let us 
not doubt that we modems, with our thickly padded 
humanity, which at all costs wants to avoid bumping 
into a stone, would have provided Cesare Borgia's con- 
temporaries with a comedy at which they could have 
laughed themselves to death. Indeed, we are unwittingly 
funny beyond all measure with our modem "virtues.** 

The decrease in instincts which are hostile and arouse 
mistrust — and that is all our "progress" amounts to— 
represents but one of the consequences attending the 
general decrease in vitality: it requires a hundred times 
more trouble and caution to make so conditional and 
late an existence prevail. Hence each helps the other; 
hence everyone is to a certain extent sick, and everyone 
is a nurse for the sick. And that is called "virtue." 
Among men who still knew life differently — fuller, more 
squandering, more overflowing — it would have been 
called by another name: "cowardice" perhaps, "wretch- 
edness," "old ladies' morality." 

Our softening of manners — that is my proposition; 
that is, if you will, my innovation — is a consequence of 
decline; the hardness and terribleness of morals, con- 
versely, can be a consequence of an excess of life. For 


in that case much may also be dared, much challenged, 
and much squandered. What was once the spice of life 
would be poison for us. 

To be indifferent — that too is a form of strength — 
for that we are likewise too old, too late. Our morality 
of sympathy, against which I was the first to issue a 
warning — that which one might call I'impressionisme 
morale — is just another expression of that physiological 
overexcitability which is characteristic of everything 
decadent. That movement which tried to introduce 
itself scientifically with Schopenhauer's morality of 
pity — a very unfortunate attempt! — is the real move- 
ment of decadence in morality; as such, it is profoundly 
related to Christian morality. Strong ages, noble cul- 
tures, consider pity, "neighbor-love," and the lack of 
self and self-assurance something contemptible. Ages 
must be measured by their positive strength — and then 
that lavishly squandering and fatal age of the Renais- 
sance appears as the last great age; and we modems, 
with our anxious self-solicitude and neighbor-love, with 
our virtues of work, modesty, legality, and scientism — 
accumulating, economic, machinelike — appear as a 
weak age. Our virtues are conditional on, are pro- 
voked by, our weaknesses. "Equality," as a certain 
factual increase in similarity, which merely finds ex- 
pression in the theory of "equal rights," is an essential 
feature of decline. The cleavage between man and man, 
status and status, the plurality of types, the will to be 
oneself, to stand out — what I call the pathos of dis- 
tance, that is characteristic of every strong age. The 
strength to withstand tension, the width of the tensions 
between extremes, becomes ever smaller today; finally, 
the extremes themselves become blurred to the point 
of similarity. 

All our political theories and constitutions — and the 

"German Reich" is by no means an exception — are 
consequences, necessary consequences, of decline; the 
unconscious effect of decadence has assumed mastery 
even over the ideals of some of the sciences. My objec- 
tion against the whole of sociology in England and 
France remains that it knows from experience only the 
forms of social decay, and with perfect innocence ac- 
cepts its own instincts of decay as the norm of socio- 
logical value-judgments. The decline of life, the de- 
crease in the power to organize, that is, to separate, 
tear open clefts, subordinate and super-ordinate — all 
this has been formulated as the ideal in contemporary 
sociology. Our socialists are decadents, but Mr. Herbert 
Spencer is a decadent too: he considers the triumph of 
altruism desirable. 


My conception of freedom. The value of a thing some- 
times does not lie in that which one attains by it, but 
in what one pays for it — what it costs us. I shall give 
an example. Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as 
soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse, 
and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal 
institutions. Their effects are known well enough: they 
undermine the will to power; they level mountain and 
valley, and call that morality; they make men small, 
cowardly, and hedonistic — every time it is the herd 
animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other 
words, herd-animalization. 

These same institutions produce quite different effects 
while they are still being fought for; then they really 
promote freedom in a powerful way. On closer inspec- 
tion, it is war that produces these effects, the war for 
liberal institutions, which, as a war, permits illiberal 
instincts to continue. And war educates for freedom. 


For what is freedom? That one has the will to assume 
responsibility for oneself. That one maintains the dis- 
tance which separates us. That one becomes more in- 
different to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to 
life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings 
for one's cause, not excluding oneself. Freedom means 
that the manly instincts which delight in war and 
victory dominate over other instincts, for example, over 
those of "pleasure." The human being who has become 
free — and how much more the spirit who has become 
free — spits on the contemptible type of well-being 
dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, females, 
Englishmen, and other democrats. The free man is a 

How is freedom measured in individuals and peoples? 
According to the resistance which must be overcome, 
according to the exertion required, to remain on top. 
The highest type of free men should be sought where 
the highest resistance is constantly overcome: five steps 
from tyranny, close to the threshold of the danger of 
servitude. This is true psychologically if by "tyrants" 
are meant inexorable and fearful instincts that provoke 
the maximum of authority and discipline against them- 
selves; most beautiful type: Julius Caesar. This is true 
politically too; one need only go through history. The 
peoples who had some value, attained some value, never 
attained it under liberal institutions: it was great danger 
that made something of them that merits respect. 
Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our 
virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit, and forces 
us to be strong. First principle: one must need to be 
strong — otherwise one will never become strong. 

Those large hothouses for the strong — for the strong- 
est kind of human being that has so far been known — 
the aristocratic commonwealths of the type of Rome or 

Venice, understood freedom exactly in the sense in 
which I understand it: as something one has or does 
not have, something one wants, something one con- 


Critique of modernity. Our institutions are no good 
any more: on that there is universal agreement. How- 
ever, it is not their fault but ours. Once we have lost 
all the instincts out of which institutions grow, we lose 
institutions altogether because we are no longer good 
for them. Democracy has ever been the form of decline 
in organizing power: in Human, All-Too-Human (I, 
472) I already characterized modern democracy, to- 
gether with its hybrids such as the "German Reich," as 
the form of decline of the state. In order that there 
may be institutions, there must be a kind of will, in- 
stinct, or imperative, which is anti-liberal to the point 
of malice: the will to tradition, to authority, to responsi- 
bility for centuries to come, to the solidarity of chains 
of generations, forward and backward ad infinitum. 
When this will is present, something like the imperium 
Romanum is founded; or like Russia, the only power 
today which has endurance, which can wait, which can 
still promise something — Russia, the concept that sug- 
gests the opposite of the wretched European nervous- 
ness and system of small states, which has entered a 
critical phase with the founding of the German Reich. 

The whole of the West no longer possesses the in- 
stincts out of which institutions grow, out of which a 
future grows: perhaps nothing antagonizes its "modem 
spirit" so much. One lives for the day, one lives very 
fast, one lives very irresponsibly: precisely this is called 
"freedom." That which makes an institution an insti- 
tution is despised, hated, repudiated: one fears the 


danger of a new slavery the moment the word "author- 
ity" is even spoken out loud. That is how far decadence 
has advanced in the value-instincts of our politicians, 
of our political parties: instinctively they prefer what 
disintegrates, what hastens the end. 

Witness modern marriage. All rationality has clearly 
vanished from modern marriage; yet that is no objec- 
tion to marriage, but to modernity. The rationality of 
marriage — that lay in the husband's sole juridical re- 
sponsibility, which gave marriage a center of gravity, 
while today it limps on both legs. The rationality of 
marriage — that lay in its indissolubility in principle, 
which lent it an accent that could be heard above the 
accident of feeling, passion, and what is merely momen- 
tary. It also lay in the family's responsibility for the 
choice of a spouse. With the growing indulgence of love 
matches, the very foundation of marriage has been 
eliminated, that which alone makes an institution of it. 
Never, absolutely never, can an institution be founded 
on an idiosyncrasy; one cannot, as I have said, found 
marriage on 'love" — it can be founded on the sex drive, 
on the property drive (wife and child as property), on 
the drive to dominate, which continually organizes for 
itself the smallest structure of domination, the family, 
and which needs children and heirs to hold fast — 
physiologically too — to an attained measure of power, 
influence, and wealth, in order to prepare for long- 
range tasks, for a solidarity of instinct between the cen- 
turies. Marriage as an institution involves the affir- 
mation of the largest and most enduring form of 
organization: when society cannot affirm itself as a 
whole, down to the most distant generations, then mar- 
riage has altogether no meaning. Modem marriage has 
lost its meaning— consequently one abolishes it. 



The labor question. The stupidity — at bottom, the 
degeneration of instinct, which is today the cause of 
all stupidities — is that there is a labor question at all. 
Certain things one does not question: that is the first 
imperative of instinct. I simply cannot see what one 
proposes to do with the European worker now that one 
has made a question of him. He is far too well off not 
to ask for more and more, not to ask more immodestly. 
In the end, he has numbers on his side. The hope is gone 
forever that a modest and self-sufficient kind of man, a 
Chinese type, might here develop as a class: and there 
would have been reason in that, it would almost have 
been a necessity. But what was done? Everything to nip 
in the bud even the preconditions for this: the instincts 
by virtue of which the worker becomes possible as a 
class, possible in his own eyes, have been destroyed 
through and through with the most irresponsible 
thoughtlessness. The worker was qualified for military 
service, granted the right to organize and to vote: is 
it any wonder that the worker today experiences his 
own existence as distressing — morally speaking, as an 
injustice? But what is wanted? I ask once more. If one 
wants an end, one must also want the means: if one 
wants slaves, then one is a fool if one educates them 
to be masters. 


"Freedom which I do not mean." In times like these, 
abandonment to one's instincts is one calamity more. 
Our instincts contradict, disturb, destroy each other; 
I have already defined what is modern as physiological 
self-contradiction. Rationality in education would re- 


quire that under iron pressure at least one of these 
instinct systems be paralyzed to permit another, to gain 
in power, to become strong, to become master. Today 
the individual still has to be made possible by being 
pruned: possible here means whole. The reverse is 
what happens: the claim for independence, for free 
development, for laisser aller is pressed most hotly by 
the very people for whom no reins would be too strict. 
This is true in politics, this is true in art. But that is a 
symptom of decadence: our modem conception of 
"freedom" is one more proof of the degeneration of the 


Where faith is needed. Nothing is rarer among moral- 
ists and saints than honesty. Perhaps they say the con- 
trary, perhaps they even believe it. For when a faith is 
more useful, more effective, and more persuasive than 
conscious hypocrisy, then hypocrisy soon turns instinc 
tively into innocence: first principle for the understand- 
ing of great saints. The philosophers are merely an- 
other kind of saint, and their whole craft is such that 
they admit only certain truths — namely those for the 
sake of which their craft is accorded public sanction — 
in Kantian terms, truths of practical reason. They know 
what they must prove; in this they are practical. They 
recognize each other by their agreement about "the 
truths." "Thou shalt not lie": in other words, beware, 
my dear philosopher, of telling the truth. 


Whispered to the conservatives. What was not known 
formerly, what is known, or might be known, today: a 
reversion, a return in any sense or degree is simply not 
possible. We physiologists know that. Yet all priests 

and moralists have believed the opposite — they wanted 
to take mankind back, to screw it back, to a former 
measure of virtue. Morality was always a bed of Pro- 
crustes. Even the politicians have aped the preachers 
of virtue at this point: today too there are still parties 
whose dream it is that all things might walk backwards 
like crabs. But no one is free to be a crab. Nothing 
avails: one must go forward — step by step further into 
decadence (that is my definition of modern "progress"). 
One can check this development and thus dam up de- 
generation, gather it and make it more vehement and 
sudden: one can do no more. 


My conception of genius. Great men, like great ages, 
are explosives in which a tremendous force is stored up; 
their precondition is always, historically and physiologi- 
cally, that for a long time much has been gathered, 
stored up, saved up, and conserved for them — that 
there has been no explosion for a long time. Once the 
tension in the mass has become too great, then the most 
accidental stimulus suffices to summon into the world 
the "genius," the "deed," the great destiny. What does 
the environment matter then, or the age, or the "spirit 
of the age," or "public opinion"! 

Take the case of Napoleon. Revolutionary France, 
and even more, prerevolutionary France, would have 
brought forth the opposite type; in fact, it did. Because 
Napoleon was different, the heir of a stronger, older, 
more ancient civilization than the one which was then 
perishing in France, he became the master there, he 
was the only master. Great men are necessary, the age 
in which they appear is accidental; that they almost 
always become masters over their age is only because 
they are stronger, because they are older, because for a 


longer time much was gathered for them. The relation- 
ship between a genius and his age is like that between 
strong and weak, or between old and young: the age 
is relatively always much younger, thinner, more im- 
mature, less assured, more childish. 

That in France today they think quite differently on 
this subject (in Germany too, but that does not matter), 
that the milieu theory, which is truly a neurotic's theory, 
has become sacrosanct and almost scientific and has 
found adherents even among physiologists — that "smells 
bad" and arouses sad reflections. It is no different in 
England, but that will not grieve anybody. For the 
English there are only two ways of coming to terms 
with the genius and the "great man": either democrati- 
cally in the manner of Buckle or religiously in the 
manner of Carlyle. 

The danger that lies in great men and ages is ex- 
traordinary; exhaustion of every kind, sterility, follow 
in their wake. The great human being is a finale; the 
great age — the Renaissance, for example — is a finale. 
The genius, in work and deed, is necessarily a squan- 
derer: that he squanders himself, that is his greatness. 
The instinct of self-preservation is suspended, as it 
were; the overpowering pressure of outflowing forces 
forbids him any such care or caution. People call this 
"self-sacrifice" and praise his "heroism," his indiffer- 
ence to his own well-being, his devotion to an idea, a 
great cause, a fatherland: without exception, misunder- 
standings. He flows out, he overflows, he uses himself 
up, he does not spare himself — and this is a calamitous, 
involuntary fatality, no less than a river's flooding the 
land. Yet, because much is owed to such explosives, 
much has also been given them in return: for example, 
a kind of higher morality. After all, that is the way of 
human gratitude: it misunderstands its benefactors. 




The criminal and what is related to him. The crim- 
inal type is the type of the strong human being under 
unfavorable circumstances: a strong human being made 
sick. He lacks the wilderness, a somehow freer and more 
dangerous environment and form of existence, where 
everything that is weapons and armor in the instinct 
of the strong human being has its rightful place. His 
virtues are ostracized by society; the most vivid drives 
with which he is endowed soon grow together with 
the depressing affects — with suspicion, fear, and dis- 
honor. Yet this is almost the recipe for physiological 
degeneration. Whoever must do secretly, with long 
suspense, caution, and cunning, what he can do best 
and would like most to do, becomes anemic; and be- 
cause he always harvests only danger, .persecution, and 
calamity from his instincts, his attitude to these in- 
stincts is reversed too, and he comes to experience them 
fatalistically. It is society, our tame, mediocre, emascu- 
lated society, in which a natural human being, who 
comes from the mountains or from the adventures of 
the sea necessarily degenerates into a criminal. Or 
almost necessarily; for there are cases in which such 
a man proves stronger than society: the Corsican, 
Napoleon, is the most famous case. 

The testimony of Dostoevski is relevant to this prob- 
lem — Dostoevski, the only psychologist, incidentally, 
from whom I had something to learn; he ranks among 
the most beautiful strokes of fortune in my life, even 
more than my discovery of Stendhal. This profound 
human being, who was ten times right in his low 
estimate of the superficial Germans, lived for a long 
time among the convicts in Siberia — hardened crim- 
inals for whom there was no way back to society — and 


found them very different from what he himself had 
expected: they were carved out of just about the best, 
hardest, and most valuable wood that grows anywhere 
on Russian soil. 

Let us generalize the case of the criminal: let us 
think of men so constituted that, for one reason or an- 
other, they lack public approval and know that they 
are not felt to be beneficent or useful — that Chandala 
feeling that one is not considered equal, but an out- 
cast, unworthy, contaminating. All men so constituted 
have a subterranean hue to their thoughts and actions; 
everything about them becomes paler than in those 
whose existence is touched by daylight. Yet almost all 
forms of existence which we consider distinguished 
today once lived in tliis half tomblike atmosphere: the 
scientific character, the artist, the genius, the free spirit, 
the actor, the merchant, the great discoverer. As long 
as the priest was considered the supreme type, every 
valuable kind of human being was devaluated. The 
time will come, I promise, when the priest will be con- 
sidered the lowest type, our Chandala, the most men- 
dacious, the most indecent kind of human being. 

I call attention to the fact that even now — under the 
mildest regimen of morals which has ever ruled on 
earth, or at least in Europe — every deviation, every 
long, all-too-long sojourn below, every unusual or 
opaque form of existence, brings one closer to that type 
which is perfected in the criminal. All innovators of the 
spirit must for a time bear the pallid and fatal mark 
of the Chandala on their foreheads — not because they 
are considered that way by others, but because they 
themselves feel the terrible cleavage which separates 
them from everything that is customary or reputable. 
Almost every genius knows, as one stage of his develop- 
ment, the "Catilinarian existence" — a feeling of hatred, 

revenge, and rebellion against everything which already 
is, which no longer becomes. Catiline — the form of 
pre-existence of every Caesar. 


Here the view is free. It may be nobility of the soul 
when a philosopher is silent; it may be love when he 
contradicts himself; and he who has knowledge may 
be polite enough to lie. It has been said, not without 
delicacy: II est indigne des grand coeurs de rSpandre 
le trouble qu'ils ressentent. 1 But one must add that not 
to be afraid of the most unworthy may also be greatness 
of soul. A woman who loves, sacrifices her honor; a 
knower who "loves" may perhaps sacrifice his human- 
ity; a God who loved became a Jew. 


Beauty no accident. The beauty of a race or family, 
their grace and graciousness in all gestures, is won by 
work: like genius, it is the end result of the accumulated 
work of generations. One must have made great sacri- 
fices to good taste, one must have done much and 
omitted much for its sake — seventeenth-century France 
is admirable in both respects — and good taste must 
have furnished a principle for selecting company, place, 
dress, sexual satisfaction; one must have preferred 
beauty to advantage, habit, opinion, and inertia. Su- 
preme rule of conduct: before oneself too, one must 
not "let oneself go." The good things are immeasurably 
costly; and the law always holds that those who have 
them are different from those who acquire them. All 
that is good is inherited: whatever is not inherited is 
imperfect, is a mere beginning. 

1 "It is unworthy of great hearts to pour out the confusion 
they feel." 


In Athens, in the time of Cicero, who expresses his 
surprise about this, the men and youths were far su- 
perior in beauty to the women. But what work and 
exertion in the service of beauty had the male sex there 
imposed on itself for centuries! For one should make no 
mistake about the method in this case: a breeding of 
feelings and thoughts alone is almost nothing (this is 
the great misunderstanding underlying German educa- 
tion, which is wholly illusory) ; one must first persuade 
the body. Strict perseverance in significant and exqui- 
site gestures together with the obligation to live only 
with people who do not "let themselves go" — that is 
quite enough for one to become significant and exqui- 
site, and in two or three generations all this becomes 
inward. It is decisive for the lot of a people and of 
humanity that culture should begin in the right place 
— not in the "soul" (as was the fateful superstition of 
the priests arid half -priests) : the right place is the body, 
the gesture, the diet, physiology; the rest follows from 
that. Therefore the Greeks remain the first cultural 
event in history: they knew, they did, what was needed; 
and Christianity, which despised the body, has been the 
greatest misfortune of humanity so far. 


Progress in my sense. I too speak of a "return to 
nature," although it is really not a going back but an 
ascent — up into the high, free, even terrible nature 
and naturalness where great tasks are something one 
plays with, one may play with. To put it metaphorically: 
Napoleon was a piece of "return to nature," as I under- 
stand the phrase (for example, in rebus tacticis; even 
more, as military men know, in matters of strategy). 

But Rousseau — to what did he really want to return? 
Rousseau, this first modern man, idealist and rabble in 

one person — one who needed moral "dignity" to be able 
to stand his own sight, sick with unbridled vanity and 
unbridled self-contempt. This miscarriage, couched on 
the threshold of modem times, also wanted a "return 
to nature"; to ask this once more, to what did Rousseau 
want to return? I still hate Rousseau in the French 
Revolution: it is the world-historical expression of this 
duality of idealist and rabble. The bloody farce which 
became an aspect of the Revolution, its "immorality," 
are of little concern to me: what I hate is its Rousseauan 
morality — the so-called "truths" of the Revolution 
through which it still works and attracts everything 
shallow and mediocre. The doctrine of equalityl There 
is no more poisonous poison anywhere: for it seems to 
be preached by justice itself, whereas it really is the 
termination of justice. "Equal to the equal, unequal to 
the unequal" — that would be the true slogan of justice; 
and also its corollary: "Never make equal what is un- 
equal." That this doctrine of equality was surrounded 
by such gruesome and bloody events, that has given 
this "modem idea" par excellence a kind of glory and 
fiery aura so that the Revolution as a spectacle has 
seduced even the noblest spirits. In the end, that is no 
reason for respecting it any more. I see only one man 
who experienced it as it must be experienced, with 
nausea — Goethe. 


Goethe — not a German event, but a European one: 
a magnificent attempt to overcome the eighteenth cen- 
tury by a return to nature, by an ascent to the natural- 
ness of the Renaissance — a kind of self-overcoming on 
the part of that century. He bore its strongest instincts 
within himself: the sensibility, the idolatry of nature, 
the anti-historic, the idealistic, the unreal and revolu- 


tionary (the latter being merely a form of the unreal). 
He sought help from history, natural science, antiquity, 
and also Spinoza, but, above all, from practical activity; 
he surrounded himself with limited horizons; he did not 
retire from life but put himself into the midst of it; he 
"was not fainthearted but took as much as possible upon 
himself, over himself, into himself. What he wanted was 
totality; he fought the mutual extraneousness of reason, 
senses, feeling, and will (preached with the most ab- 
horrent scholasticism by Kant, the antipode of Goethe); 
he disciplined himself to wholeness, he created him- 

In the middle of an age with an unreal outlook, 
Goethe was a convinced realist: he said Yes to every- 
thing that was related to him in this respect — and he 
had no greater experience than that ens realissimum 1 
called Napoleon. Goethe conceived a human being who 
would be strong, highly educated, skillful in all bodily 
matters, self -controlled, reverent toward himself, and 
who might dare to afford the whole range and wealth 
of being natural, being strong enough for such freedom; 
the man of tolerance, not from weakness but from 
strength, because he knows how to use to his advantage, 
even that from which the average nature would perish; 
the man for whom there is no longer anything that is 
forbidden — unless it be weakness, whether called vice 
or virtue. 

Such a spirit who has become free stands amid the 
cosmos with a joyous and trusting fatalism, in the faith 
that only the particular is loathsome, and that all is 
redeemed and affirmed in the whole — he does not 
negate any more. Such a faith, however, is the highest 
of all possible faiths: I have baptized it with the name 
of Dionysus. 

1 "Most real being." 



One might say that in a certain sense the nineteenth 
century also strove for all that which Goethe as a per- 
son had striven for: universality in understanding and 
in welcoming, letting everything come close to oneself, 
an audacious realism, a reverence for everything factual. 
How is it that the over-all result is no Goethe, but 
chaos, a nihilistic sigh, an utter bewilderment, an in- 
stinct of weariness which in practice continually drives 
toward a recourse to the eighteenth century? (For ex- 
ample, as a romanticism of feeling, as altruism and 
hypersentimentality, as feminism in taste, as socialism 
in politics.) Is not the nineteenth century, especially 
at its close, merely an intensified, brutalized eighteenth 
century, that is, a century of decadence? So that Goethe 
would have been — not merely for Germany, but for all 
of Europe — a mere interlude, a beautiful "in vain"? 
But one misunderstands great human beings if one 
views them from the miserable perspective of some 
public use. That one cannot put them to any use, that 
in itself may belong to greatness. 


Goethe is the last German for whom I feel any rever- 
ence: he would have felt three things which I feel — 
and we also understand each other about the "cross." 

I am often asked why, after all, I write in German: 
nowhere am I read worse than in the faiherland. But 
who knows in the end whether I even wish to be read 
today? To create things on which time tests its teeth 
in vain; in form, in substance, to strive for a little im- 
mortality — I have never yet been modest enough to 
demand less of myself. The aphorism, the apothegm, in 
which I am the first among the Germans to be a master, 


are the forms of "eternity"; it is my ambition to say in 
ten sentences what everyone else says in a book — what 
everyone else does not say in a book. 

I have given mankind the most profound book it pos- 
sesses, my Zarathustra; shortly I shall give it the most 


In conclusion, a word about that world to which I 
sought approaches, to which I have perhaps found a 
new approach — the ancient world. My taste, which 
may be the opposite of a tolerant taste, is in this case 
too far from saying Yes indiscriminately: it does not 
like to say Yes; rather even No; but best of all, nothing. 
That applies to whole cultures, it applies to books — also 
to places and landscapes. At bottom it is a very small 
number of ancient books that counts in my life; the 
most famous are not among them. My sense of style, 
for the epigram as a style, was awakened almost in- 
stantly when I came into contact with Sallust. I have 
not forgotten the surprise of my honored teacher, Cors- 
sen, when he had to give his worst Latin pupil the best 
grade: I had finished with one stroke. Compact, severe, 
with as much substance as possible, a cold sarcasm 
against "beautiful words" and "beautiful sentiments" — 
here I found myself. And even in my Zarathustra one 
will recognize a very serious ambition for a Roman 
style, for the acre perennius 1 in style. 

Nor was my experience any different in my first con- 
tact with Horace. To this day, no other poet has given 
me the same artistic delight that a Horatian ode gave 
me from the first. In certain languages that which has 

1 "More enduring than bronze." 

teen achieved here could not even be attempted. This 
mosaic of words, in which every word — as sound, as 
place, as concept — pours out its strength right and left 
and over the whole, this minimum in the extent and 
number of the signs, and the maximum thereby attained 
in the energy of the signs — all that is Roman and, if 
one will believe me, noble par excellence. All the rest 
of poetry becomes, in contrast, something too popular 
— a mere garrulity of feelings. 


To the Greeks I do not by any means owe similarly 
strong impressions; and — to come right out with it — 
they cannot mean as much to us as the Romans. One 
does not learn from the Greeks — their manner is too 
foreign, and too fluid, to have an imperative, a "class- 
ical" effect. Who could ever have learned to write from 
a Greek? Who could ever have learned it without the 

For heaven's sake, do not throw Plato at me. I am 
a complete skeptic about Plato, and I have never been 
able to join in the admiration for the artist Plato which 
is customary among scholars. In the end, the subtlest 
judges of taste among the ancients themselves are here 
on my side. Plato, it seems to me, throws all stylistic 
forms together and is thus a first-rate decadent in style: 
his responsibility is thus comparable to that of the 
Cynics, who invented the satura Menippea. 1 To be at- 
tracted by the Platonic dialogue, this horribly self- 
satisfied and childish kind of dialectic, one must never 
have read good French writers — Fontenelle, for ex- 
ample. Plato is boring. In the end, my mistrust of 
Plato goes deep: he represents such an aberration from 
all the basic instincts of the Hellene, is so moralistic, so 

1 Varro's satire on the model of Menippus the Cynic. 


pre-existently Christian — he already takes the concept 
"good" for the highest concept — that for the whole 
phenomenon Plato I would sooner use the harsh phrase 
"higher swindle," or, if it sounds better, "idealism," 
than any other. We have paid dearly for the fact that 
this Athenian got his schooling from the Egyptians (or 
from the Jews in Egypt?). In that great calamity, 
Christianity, Plato represents that ambiguity and fasci- 
nation, called an "ideal," which made it possible for 
the nobler spirits of antiquity to misunderstand them- 
selves and to set foot on the bridge leading to the cross. 
And how much Plato there still is in the concept 
"church," in the construction, system, and practice of 
the churchl 

My recreation, my preference, my cure from all 
Platonism has always been Thucydides. Thucydides and, 
perhaps, Machiavelli's Principe are most closely related 
to myself by the unconditional will not to gull oneself 
and to see reason in reality — not in "reason," still less 
in "morality." For the wretched embellishment of the 
Greeks into an ideal, which the "classically educated" 
youth carries into life as a prize for his classroom drill, 
there is no more complete cure than Thucydides. One 
must follow him line by line and read no less clearly 
between the lines: there are few thinkers who say so 
much between the lines. With him the culture of the 
Sophists, by which I mean the culture of the realists, 
reaches its perfect expression — this inestimable move- 
ment amid the moralistic and idealistic swindle set loose 
on all sides by the Socratic schools. Greek philosophy: 
the decadence of the Greek instinct. Thucydides: the 
great sum, the last revelation of that strong, severe, hard 
factuality which was instinctive with the older